Have you ever watched the body language and patterns of social interaction among your team members?

Recently, I read The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. In it, he describes some of his early research into highly performing teams and groups. I was struck by a list of characteristics he observed throughout the smallest moments of social connection in the highest-performing teams. 


Coyle writes, “I noticed a distinct pattern of interaction. The pattern was not in the big things but in little moments of social connection. These interactions were consistent whether the group was a military unit or a movie studio or an inner-city school.”

  • Close physical proximity, often in circles
  • Profuse amounts of eye contact
  • Physical touch (handshakes, fist bumps, hugs)
  • Lots of short, energetic exchanges (no long speeches)
  • High levels of mixing; everyone talks to everyone
  • Few interruptions
  • Lots of questions
  • Intensive, active listening
  • Humor, laughter
  • Small, attentive courtesies (thank-yous, opening doors, etc.)

Coyle reported that  “spending time inside these groups was almost physically addictive.”

As I think about the most high-performing teams I’ve worked with, I agree that I’ve seen many of these patterns.

Activity

  • Share this post with your team.
  • Discuss the list and what team members think about Coyle’s observations.
  • Suggest that each person observe how they and their colleagues interact in the normal workday. How do your team’s interactions compare with Coyle’s list?  
  • If you see very few of these patterns, explore why or why not.  Discuss what the team might do to interject more of these behaviors into everyday interactions.

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Reach out if you would like my help in facilitating this type of discussion among your team.

 

 

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