Teamwork, partnership and mindfulness - Savvy

Teamwork, partnership and mindfulness

Hi, I’m Margo, PR & Marketing Manager at Savvy. Today I want to share something I learned during the Kyiv training prepared by Anna Krasilnik, managing partner of Savvy.

Why this particular topic?

There are only three reasons, and they are closely interconnected with one another:

  1. I like people.
  2. I strive to both develop my skills and help others develop theirs.
  3. Point 1 + point 2 = I want to help people grow, and in my picture of the world, this means the formation of a conscious personality.

However, before reading this article, let’s define who you are and what your goal is.

I will allow myself to build several hypotheses

Maybe you work in HR?

You want the company’s employees and management to be happy and effectively move forward in fulfilling their goals. You understand that there are some disagreements in the team, or you want to prevent and preempt them, and therefore you are looking for new tools.

Or maybe you are a CEO or a business owner?

You want the business to work and make a profit, and the employees stay with you as long as possible. After all, the search for a new team member means emotional and financial losses, and during a pandemic, you would like to avoid such a trap.

Perhaps you have disagreements with top managers and do not understand the root causes, and you think the reasons could be because of your management style or methods of feedback?

Are you a manager?

Are you tired of keeping tabs on your team? Do you no longer understand what it is that you’re doing wrong? Do you want to figure out how else to tell people they need to do their work on time and talk about emotions later?

What if you are a proactive developer, tester, or maybe a designer?

You are already tired of constant criticism. Do you feel that you are continually being put within an unnecessary framework and terms or given unclear instructions? Do you think that you already know what to do and where to go, but the PM still does not understand that?

So who are you and why are you here? What are your goals and expectations? What are you looking for?

I am sharing with you a plan, and we will talk about these topics today. Well, the final decision is up to you: devote time to this or scroll further 🙂

Plan for today:

  1. What makes an effective team?
  2. What dysfunctions are there in the group, why are they dangerous, and how to overcome them?
  3. I’m not a “drama queen” anymore, or how to break out of the Karpman Triangle? 
  4. A couple of tools and games for team building.
  5. And in conclusion, 5 ‘strong questions’ to help build self-awareness.

Here we go.

What makes an effective team?

An effective team is a group of people focused on achieving a result and moving towards it quickly enough with minimal losses.

These like-minded people fully realize their energetic, intellectual, and creative potential according to the company’s strategic goals, and at the same time, work hand-in-hand in an organized group.

In my experience, I will say that I think a team is effective when it fulfills its tasks within the deadlines set. Simultaneously, all participants in the process remain emotionally stable and even-tempered, and there are no issues relating to the term “emotional burnout.”

Are you ready to test together how effective your team is?

At Anya’s training, I heard about the American writer Patrick Lencioni and his book “five dysfunctions in a team” for the first time. The author identified five factors that can lead to team disintegration and offered tips on preventing it from happening. 

Now let’s talk about each of them one by one

Dysfunction # 1 — Lack of Trust

The members of a team spend too much time focusing on how to protect themselves?

How to understand what this means for you:

  • your team does not ask for help and feedback;
  • team members hide mistakes and make excuses;
  • participants avoid each other.

How to prevent or this type of dysfunction:

  • introduce a role model of the leader, in which they freely demonstrate vulnerability;
  • build profiles of personal and behavioral preferences;
  • develop team awareness through training, education, and personal example of leaders.

Dysfunction # 2 — Fear of disagreement or conflict

Team members with this dysfunction spend effort and energy to avoid expressing their point of view.

How to understand what this means for you:

  • there are no disputes in the team. Everyone agrees with each other;
  • the team does not discuss serious problems;
  • but there is gossip 🙂

How to prevent or treat this dysfunction:

  • a leader to disagree with employees when appropriate;
  • introduce a culture of constructive dialogue;
  • introduce the role model “Demoman.”

Dysfunction # 3 — Unwillingness to make decisions

Making important decisions is postponed, and as a result, the company slows down in growth and development.

How to understand what this means for you:

  • employees’ ideas are not taken into consideration and supported;
  • the team spends hours in fruitless and monotonous discussions;
  • team members take a long time to complete tasks.

How to prevent or treat this dysfunction:

  • introduce the axiom “any solution is better than its absence”;
  • take stock at the end of every meeting, project, or campaign.

Dysfunction # 4 — Lowered standards of employee performance

People behave the way they want, and the team lacks the support and motivation to develop and improve their skills.

How to understand what this means for you:

  • team members rely on leads for everything;
  • failing on a project or missing a deadline. The team accepts this fact instead of preventing it in time.

How to prevent or treat this dysfunction:

  • communicate goals and standards;
  • introduce a culture of feedback;
  • introduce a system of rewarding team achievements.

Dysfunction # 5 — Indifference to team goals and overall outcomes

There is no concept of mutual assistance. In the team, everyone man for himself.

How to understand what this means for you:

  • team members focus on personal goals;
  • lack of team cohesion;
  • the tops or the best players leave.

How to prevent or treat this dysfunction:

  • formulate goals;
  • introduce the practice of argumentation;
  • raise the intangible motivation of employees.

P.S. After the training, I sat for about two hours and analyzed my work experience, compared it, and looked for dysfunctions in teams that I know.

All dysfunctions can be corrected. There needs to be a conscious desire to work on them.

Moreover, therapy and coaching should be added to the methods of preventing dysfunctions 1-4. These methods help to increase awareness. Furthermore, you learn to build new behavior algorithms and to interact with the outside world. 

I’m not a “drama queen” anymore, or how to break out of the Karpman Triangle

Speaking of self-reflection and awareness; ever heard of the Karpman triangle?

I often correlate the Karpman Triangle (Dramatic Triangle) and the Parent-Adult-Child psychological model from the transactional analysis in my work life. The point is that ego states in both approaches have about the same needs and emotions.

The dramatic triangle implies three people and positions: the pursuer, the rescuer, and the victim.

Now a few words about each:


  • feels angry at others;
  • wants to be right and in control of his world and situations.


  • feels sorry for others;
  • needs recognition, strives to be suitable for everyone.


  • feels resentment towards himself;
  • needs sympathy, understanding, and acceptance.

How do we get into this triangle: we criticize others, make value judgments about people and their actions, justify ourselves.

How to get out of it: reward all ego states as needed 🙂

  1. Give the persecutor a sense of control.

2. To the lifeguard to say thank you for their care.

3. And the victim — sympathize with them.

Let’s see how to get out of the triangle using real examples:

  • “You’re right that I forgot to give you feedback on a new client. What could I clarify for you?” (interlocutor — persecutor)
  • “I feel uncomfortable discussing this point, so I would like to focus on another task today” (I am a victim)
  • “I would like to help you” (I am a lifeguard), “Thank you! So far, I can handle it myself” (the interlocutor is a rescuer).

Remember several conflict situations at work. In what role do you often “play”? What role do your interlocutors play?

How do you feel about this?

More information about Karpman’s Triangle can be found in this and this articles. As you understand your role and the roles of employees, colleagues, and leaders, identify what might be missing and correct that unmet need.

And now I propose to move on to more practical methods and tools to form rapport and mutual understanding in teams.

A couple of tools and games for team building 

These five tools were created to work out-group dynamics, understand each other, build trust, and diagnose whatever issues may be facing the team. When used in a group, they can track reactions to successes or failures and highlight hidden leaders.

Team draftsman is a device for up to 20 people. It enables a group of people to emulate a group of children working together. Through a team effort, the goal is to paint a picture, portrait, or image.

Big team labyrinth is a game for 4-28 people, where you need to drive one or more balls through the labyrinth for a while.

Empath is a coaching format game for understanding oneself and other players. It consists of 20 cards with questions and answers.

EQ is a board game with cards and a playing field. The main task is to show your emotions and guess the feelings of other players.

Moving Motivators (see photo below) are 10 cards & needs with an explanation of each. Maps help determine what is most important for a person and what he lacks.

During the training, we managed to try out the first and last game. I can confidently say that the team draftsman “broke the ice” (the English idiom ‘to break the ice’) in a group of 12 mature adults, and the motive maps helped us better understand each other.

5 “strong questions” for self-awareness in the end

  1. Do you love what you do daily?

2. How often do you regret, scold, or excuse yourself? What does this mean?

3. Do you let your friends or loved ones upset you? Do they let you upset them? If so, what are the reasons?

4. Has your day brought any valuable experience?

5. What do you desire the most, and are you doing anything to realize your desires?

If you can answer these questions honestly, you will know yourself a little better. Write the answers down on paper and reread them every month or quarter (every three months). Record the changes with other ink.

Finally, give yourself 30 seconds to “be with yourself” and think, what is the most valuable thing you learned from this article in 5 points today?

  • Which tool would you like to use?
  • Or maybe you saw actual dysfunctions and are going to work them out?
  • Or did the Karpman Triangle respond to you with its states “Victim,” “Persecutor,” “Rescuer”?

Do not hesitate sure to share your impressions and insights in the comments. Wishing you awareness and #TheSmartWayOfLearning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.