Managers can bring the most intelligent, creative people to their departments, but if the employees aren't able to work as a team, the department's productivity will suffer.
If your team isn't firing on all cylinders, it's important to identify the reasons why … and what you can do to overcome the dysfunction.
The 5 big causes
Many teams don't work well for one reason: "Because they are made up of human beings with varied interests and frailties,” says Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. "When you put them together and leave them to their own devices, even the most well-intentioned people will usually deviate towards dysfunctional, unproductive behavior.”
As a result, small problems left untreated can spiral into ugliness.
Get all the office advice you need from the comprehensive resource that 'go-to' people go to: Office Manager Today
Here are the five major causes of team dysfunction that managers must routinely contend with, according to Lencioni, and the strategies to successfully overcome each one:
Dysfunction #1: Absence of trust
This occurs when team members are reluctant to be vulnerable with one another and are unwilling to admit their mistakes or need for help. Without a certain comfort level among team members, trust is impossible.
Manager's role: Be vulnerable.
- Identify and discuss your strengths and weaknesses. Openly accept that a team member might be more skilled in a particular area than you.
- Spend considerable time in face-to-face meetings and working sessions. The goal is to get team members to open themselves up.
Dysfunction #2: Fear of conflict
Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered, passionate debate about key issues. This causes situations in which team conflict can easily result in veiled discussions and back channel comments. In a setting where team members don't openly air their opinions, inferior decisions are the result.
Manager's role: Demand debate.
- Acknowledge that conflict is required for productive meetings. Stress that conflict must be up front instead of underlying and underground.
- Establish common ground rules for engaging in conflict.
- Understand individual team member's natural conflict styles.
Managing an office — and an office full of different personalities — is harder than ever before. That's why Office Manager Today offers you a wealth of solutions to all the issues you tackle at work. Learn More.
Dysfunction #3: Lack of commitment
Without conflict, it is difficult for team members to commit to decisions. This creates an environment where ambiguity prevails. Lack of direction and commitment can make employees, particularly star employees, disgruntled.
Manager's role: Force clarity and closure.
- Review commitments at the end of each meeting to ensure all team members are aligned.
- Adopt a "disagree and commit” mentality—make sure all team members are committed, regardless of initial disagreements.
Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of accountability
When teams don't commit to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven individuals hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that may seem counterproductive to the overall good of the team.
Manager's role: Confront difficult issues.
- Explicitly communicate goals and standards of behavior.
- Regularly discuss performance versus goals and standards.
Dysfunction #5: Inattention to results
Team members naturally tend to put their own needs (ego, career development, recognition, etc.) ahead of the collective team goals when individuals aren't held accountable. If a team has lost sight of the need for achievement, the business ultimately suffers.
Manager's role: Focus on collective outcomes.
- Keep the team focused on tangible group goals.
- Reward individuals based on team goals and collective success.
Today's office manager has it tougher than ever. You've got to be part bookkeeper ... part administrator ... part leader ... part HR pro ... part tech guru ... and part many other parts – without parting ways with your sanity!
There are various places you can go to get help with finance, or leadership, or technology, or HR. But there's never been one source for ALL the expertise today's office manager needs to succeed.
Until now. Introducing OFFICE MANAGER TODAY. Get the Office Manager's indispensable tool for success!
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/29865/team-dysfunction-why-it-happens-and-how-to-fix-it "