Why? Because a team that’s “in the groove” is far more successful than one that’s out of sync.
And engaged teams are far more nimble and able to manage change with ease rather than wasting time being stuck on the wrong path.
Consider these stats:
- 75% of cross-functional teams are dysfunctional (Behnam Tabrizi, Harvard Business Review)
- Only one-third of the American workforce is engaged at work (Gallup, State of the American Workplace 2017)
In a 2019 economy with historically low unemployment, having a team that works in harmony makes the difference between success and failure.
Let’s look at the differences between dysfunctional and successful teams.
|Dysfunctional Teams …||Successful Teams …|
|Do not communicate or collaborate effectively||Have candid conversations and work together to create something better|
|Are often rowing in separate directions based on individual views||Have different parts to play but all operate on the same page – like a well-rehearsed orchestra|
|Are unable to adapt to changing conditions||Quickly change course and minimize lost time and energy|
|Are made up of talented individuals who keep stepping on each other’s toes||Understand individual roles and respect others|
|Do not trust other team members or their leader(s)||Trust that fellow team members will do what they say they will do – when they say they will do it|
|Waste meeting time: grandstanding and egos prevail while nothing of merit is discussed or decided||Use meetings to see where everyone is on projects and problem-solve as a group|
One more telling stat:
- Organizations with high trust ratings are 5 times more likely to be high-performing revenue organizations (Interaction Associates’ 2015 study)
What can you do if you find yourself checking off some of the “dysfunctional teams” boxes? All is not lost! I’ve seen even the most dug-in teams get their groove back.
Here are some suggestions:
- Get coaching to figure out how you can create a respectful environment in which members deliver and receive open and honest feedback.
- Ask your team leader to reset objectives, strategies, and timelines if you’re all going in different directions.
- Create meeting agendas for people to stick to. If someone is regularly trying to grandstand or pull you off topic, simply put it in a “parking lot” to discuss after the meeting.
- Develop a “pre-mortem” process where you anticipate issues that might require change and create contingency plans before they occur.
- Recognize individual talents and give everyone their space to shine. If it is time for the guitar solo, then go for it! But when the drummer has his or her turn, sit back and support him/her.
- Do what you say you will do – when you say you will do it. If you said the report would be done for the Monday meeting, then make sure it is ready.
If all else fails, reach out for outside assistance. Team facilitators, leadership training workshops, and executive coaches offer a wealth of tools and exercises to build your team leadership muscle memory. With no stake in the game, they can provide an objective view and help you learn to really listen to one another. When you consider the loss of productivity and customer satisfaction, the investment is more than worth it.