Operating like a well-oiled machine. Firing on all cylinders. These are phrases that could be used to describe teams that are experiencing synergy: a cooperative action that occurs when individuals collaborate for a common cause. (Pennsylvania State University, 2018) When a team achieves synergy, it means that each team member understands their role, the role of others and the goal of the team. (Pennsylvania State University, 2018)
Almost two years ago, I was asked to create a new team in my organization that would be made up of 3 employees from 3 different locations. Although these employees had similar responsibilities, their new roles were brand new and they had never worked together as a team.
We had some growing pains in the beginning, but after the first year I could tell that the group was becoming cohesive and developing synergy. They naturally understood each other’s strengths and felt confident in their own roles and knowledge. We were able to produce work quickly and our value to the organization was widely-recognized.
But, like they say about trust, synergy can be quickly lost and is slow to recover. Mid-last year, my team and I got a new senior-level leader, a person that was hired from outside of the company. She had no knowledge of what we, as a team, were responsible for and no understanding of our methods and practices. Even worse, she really didn’t understand many of the goals of our organization as a whole or what challenges we faced. Just like that, the synergy that I had worked so hard to achieve with my team was gone. My employees began questioning their roles on the team, doubting the goals and feeling completely uninspired.
For the past several months, I have been working to include the new leader into the team dynamic so that we can once again achieve synergy. However, the team is not as willing to accept this new member and it is causing chaos across the department. I have noticed behavioral changes in all 3 of them that I never had to deal with before. Also, they are more often bickering among themselves on small issues like taking a day off or who is covering a project call. Having a new team member has created toxicity, which has become contagious and is causing the team to fail to reach our goals. (Pennsylvania State University, 2018)
While I am hopeful we will once again reach synergy, I know that it will take even more effort than our first attempt. With patience, time and (hopefully) understanding, I am confident that we can become that well-oiled machine that we were last year!
Pennsylvania State University. (2018, February 18). Lesson Overview. Retrieved from OLEAD 410, Lesson 06: Cultural Synergy: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1916378/modules/items/23640545
Pennsylvania State University. (2018, February 18). Synergy. Retrieved from OLEAD 410, Lesson 06: Cultural Synergy: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1916378/modules/items/23640546