Managing Team Dynamics

BU Logo
BetterUp Studios

10 min

A baby elephants trunk wrapped around its mothers tail

Most teams are full of talented players, but individual ability is not enough to take a team to the top.

Each player, whether they are a star or coming off the bench, needs a little coaching to work with their team at their full potential.

This article will help you understand how to respond to each type of player and break up unproductive dynamics to ensure everyone gets a chance to speak up.

The Star Player:

They have a lot to say, so they talk most of the time and might even cut others off to get their point across. They may unintentionally repeat other’s ideas that weren’t properly heard and accept credit for them.


Acknowledge that they’ve made a valuable point, then look to others in the group to voice their views and opinions. Try calling out to other team members by name and asking them to express their thoughts.

The Bench Player:

These are the team members that always attend the meeting but never give any input. Often they have great insights, but they don’t take advantage of their opportunities to voice them.


Try going around the room and giving each team member a chance to speak. This will allow everyone to voice their opinions without feeling like they are put on the spot. Pay attention to the bench players’ body language and recognize opportunities to give them the floor to express their viewpoints.

The Quiet Player:

This is the team member that speaks their mind, but their ideas often fall on deaf ears. Maybe they are softer spoken, and other team members are unknowingly tuning them out. This also could be the result of being unintentionally cut off by the star player.


Try eliminating distractions during meetings. This will help everyone focus more on who is speaking. After the quiet player shares their ideas, invite others to give feedback on what they heard.

The Agreeable Team:

When team members have been working together for a long time, they tend to settle in the roles listed above. This can bring forth a space for groupthink. Decisions can be agreed upon too quickly without proper discussion. Groupthink can also result from other team members relying too much on the star player.


Try having a list of opposing arguments ready to counteract a groupthink situation. Ask others to step outside the box and think about the opposing view. Pick someone directly to represent the opposite argument.

Of course, each individual on your team requires a personalized approach. You’ll want to learn who everyone is and what makes them tick. Use this guide as a framework, but feel empowered to tailor your management to your unique team.

BetterUp Studios
BetterUp Studios creates and curates research-backed content, activities, and tools to help people everywhere pursue their lives with greater clarity, purpose, and passion.

Recommended Resources

Card image cap

Driving Change by Directing “The Rider” and “The Elephant”

In this exercise, learn to direct your sales pitch to both the thinking and feeling sides of the mind.

5 min

Card image cap

Mentor with Passion

In this activity, learn how to take your mentorship to the next level through an understanding of your mentee's passions and values.

15 min