MBA-Educated Professionals Reveal Recipe For Strong Team Dynamics

The secret to a successful business team lies within the fundamentals of leadership, communication and skills diversity, according to a recent study on team dynamics conducted by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and The GC Index.

The study surveyed 865 MBA students and graduates, focusing on an individual’s preferred contribution style to a role or a company.

Almost half of the participants (48%) said their teams had the skills and individuals to succeed between 50% and 75% of the time.

However, more than one in five participants (22%) said less than half of the teams in which they’d been a part of had the right personality and skills dynamics to succeed.

“This research shows that student and graduate MBAs see themselves as having different styles of leadership,” AMBA Research and Insight Manager Will Dawes said.

“This indicates that Business Schools enrol future leaders onto MBAs who may have varying approaches as leaders, or that MBA programmes influence students to think about themselves in different ways.”

“The study also shines a light on key issues which are seen to affect team performance in the workplace, namely having a combination of skills and clarity around how these skills complement each other,” he said.

As a result of the study, The GC Index identified five roles that contribute to team dynamics and ultimate success:

  • The implementers, who move into action to get things done,
  • The game changers, who bringing original ideas to people,
  • The strategists, who set a direction for others to follow,
  • The polishers, who improve other people’s ideas and raising quality standards, and
  • The play makers, who get everyone to work together.

Among the study’s test group, 27% of MBAs believed themselves to be implementers, 22% perceived themselves to be game changers, 21% said they were strategists, 18% identify as polishers and 12% of MBAs considered themselves play makers.

The study also looked at the ideas of influence within team dynamics as well as leadership, conflict and defining the individual strengths that lead to shared success.

‘Poor leadership’ and ‘communication issues between team members’ were seen as the most damaging issues to the success of a team. Just over two-thirds of participants (68%) said that poor leadership was a factor of breakdown in collaboration. Of these, 26% believed this manifested itself in the form of micromanagement, 25% said the leader was disengaged, 14% believed the leader was actively obstructive and 10% said that the leader had prevented autonomy.

The GC Index Chief Psychologist John Mervyn-Smith said the data suggested that the MBA population, both students and graduates, were a diverse group which could be the answer to building strong and successful teams in the world of business.

“The key to achieving long-term success is to transform individual action into collective power. In order to do this effectively, you need to not only understand how you can best contribute and make an impact but also how other team members make their impact – only then will you be able to place them in the right roles and right environments,” Dr Mervyn-Smith said.

“The teams and organisations that get this right and communicate openly about how everyone in the team makes an impact are the ones that are winning when it comes to transformation.

“The GC Index shows we all have a role to play at some point in successful teams, whether we are an Implementer, Strategist, Play Maker, Game Changer or Polisher.

“We just need to know when and how to make a contribution.”

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (