In this episode of the Breakthrough Podcast, host Bee Wan welcomes Dr. Elizabeth Murphy, an experienced and well-renowned psychologist, to discuss the importance of team bonding in the workplace. Dr. Murphy explains the difference between teamwork and team bonding. Teamwork involves accomplishing tasks together, but it may prioritize the task over the team, leading to conflicts and disconnection. On the other hand, team bonding involves understanding each team member’s unique perspective, strengths, and personalities. By recognizing and appreciating these differences, teams can create a well-oiled machine that functions harmoniously and efficiently. Dr. Murphy emphasizes the significance of bonding in shared objectives and missions, which fosters commitment and helps the team overcome challenges.
Dr. Murphy emphasizes the importance of clarity in team objectives and tasks. Different teams may have varying social preferences, and it’s crucial to establish guidelines for interruption-free work environments when necessary. Dr. Murphy highlights the negative impact of a leader asserting power rather than fostering unity and autonomy within the team. She stresses the need for clear procedures for disagreement and emphasizes the importance of providing a safe space for team members to express their concerns without personalizing them.
Additionally, Dr. Murphy recommends using four lenses (specificity, vision, analysis, and impact on people) to evaluate decisions and ensure a comprehensive approach. Teams should recognize that decisions made in meetings can be tentative until the next morning, allowing for afterthoughts and additional insights to be considered before finalizing a decision.
Dr. Murphy emphasizes the importance of relationships and addressing conflicts within teams. She distinguishes between harmful character issues and simple stylistic differences that may be annoying but not harmful. Forgiveness is crucial for forging a future together, but it doesn’t mean forgetting past issues. Dr. Murphy advises checking for misunderstandings, misattributions of attitudes, and needs before settling disagreements. When facing conflicts, individuals should consider three options: change themselves (attitude or actions), change the situation, or try to change others. The most controllable options are changing oneself and the situation. However, not all problems are solvable, and sometimes acceptance and coping are necessary.
She shares her personal coping strategy of visualizing a dragon during stressful situations. Dr. Murphy emphasizes the need for team members to take care of each other and not just their own needs. A key tool she provides to teams is an awareness of different thinking styles and the ability to adjust language to honor these differences.
Regarding intergenerational working issues, Dr. Murphy suggests identifying the problem clearly and considering each person’s perspective. She advises using the four lenses (specificity, vision, analysis, and impact on people) to find solutions. For example, in the case of different celebration preferences, the team can discuss and establish a social time that respects each individual’s commitments and desires without intruding on their schedules. By focusing on problem-solving and considering the impact on each other, teams can address misunderstandings and foster better team bonding.
Finally, Dr. Elizabeth Murphy and Bee Wan discuss the challenges of remote work during COVID and the transition back to in-person work. Dr. Murphy emphasizes the importance of team bonding and how it encourages collaboration and harnesses the brilliance of different team members. Honesty and integrity within relationships are vital for effective team bonding, and it allows for open communication and problem-solving. Dr. Murphy also stresses the significance of inclusiveness and embracing different perspectives and ways of expressing values to create positive changes in the world.
If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Murphy’s team bonding please contact Dr. Tan Bee Wan here.