Counties Manukau Health staff gathered at Ko Awatea on February 29th to hear visiting leadership expert Mike Wagner, executive director of The Advisory Board, present a workshop on human dynamics.
Human dynamics is about the way people interact and work together.
Fifty-two staff attended the workshop, which explored the negative and positive extremes of human dynamics.
Confronting problems in human dynamics
It takes courage to confront disruptive or negative behaviour in colleagues. We’re afraid that people will think we’re criticising or attacking them if we correct them. These fears demonstrate a lack of trust.
“We need to build a mentality that we value correcting people in the spirit of excellence,” said Mr Wagner.
The Strategic Confrontation Framework deals with problems in human dynamics, such as disruptive behaviour, by confronting the behaviour rather than the person. The framework identifies the undesirable behaviour, states what the standard of behaviour should be, and communicates a consequence if a person does not move from unacceptable behaviour to the desired standard. Focussing on the behaviour makes correcting it less emotional.
Optimising human dynamics to get the best value out of teams
To be effective, teams need to work towards aspirational goals. Aspirational goals focus on what a team is trying to achieve. In teams that are not being used effectively, aspirational goals can be subsumed by action-oriented goals that focus on the team’s everyday tasks, or on people-oriented goals that aim to keep the peace.
Traditional approaches to interpersonal dynamics in teams achieve consensus by finding out what everybody agrees on and concentrating on that.
“That is insufficient,” argued Mr Wagner. “To change healthcare we have to disrupt things.”
Teams should look for disagreement, not agreement. A focus on agreement doesn’t challenge the status quo, create new insights or explore new opportunities. Instead, team members should constantly challenge each other with different perspectives. A good team dynamic is characterised by healthy debate and members who keep pushing each other to get better. Bringing lots of fresh ideas and perspectives together makes a creative tension that leads to innovation.
“That’s a different dynamic than the group that just gets along well.”