Being a strong and cohesive team focused on driving the same goals is harder than most people realise. Many things often get in the way of a team’s performance and the delivery of the envisioned results.
From my experience these are the 8 cardinal sins against effective team performance (in no particular order);
- Poor relationships –Most people get stuck into doing the job without care or concern for their team mates. It is only when the team makes time to get to know one another that the team transforms from ordinary to extra-ordinary. The essential ingredients in strong team relationships are trust, respect and shared commitment.
- Poor Communication – To continually improve on the relationship of the entire team, good communication is essential. It’s important that every team member learns when to listen and when to voice up. Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to weigh in on how to achieve results, to give feedback on progress and to hold one another accountable for the delivery/failure of results in a constructive manner.
- Big Ego’s – Anyone with a huge ego in the team has to be addressed. It doesn’t matter how good he or she is. When it starts becoming about this one person the cohesion in the team starts to break down and poor results are inevitable. If Mr. or Mrs. Ego does not start playing by the rules of the team, you may have to ask them to leave.
- Lack of role clarity – What must be done by who and how each team member must contribute to the team’s performance is crucial. A lack of role clarity results in disparate results and an increase in team frustrations with a lot of work going no-where. Who can afford this kind of waste?
- Poor Goal setting – If the goals are vague and not clear to everyone, STOP and ensure that everyone is clear on the purpose of the organisation, the team and the results being sought. The leader of the team has to ensure that this is crystal clear to everyone. Each team member must understand what success looks like and how he/she will be held accountable for their job.
- A team with a poor leader is rudderless and doomed to sink. When the leader can’t set a direction, make decisions and drive accountability the team is doomed to fail. A leader with strong principles, instincts and abilities enables his or her team to not only perform but to make quantum leaps in the industry they operate in.
- The lack of discipline to review the team’s progress or lack thereof will only render poor results. Team check-ins’ are vital to allow all team members an opportunity to give an update on progress, share ideas and to keep focus on delivering the common goals. Ideally the leader holds the space, allows everyone to present and then ask pertinent questions at the end. If the leader is yapping all the time it is a one man show and not a performing team.
- Not appreciating team members on results achieved or not celebrating all victories (big and small), drops the teams moral to zero and the tasks at hand become a slog. Apathy creeps in and makes it harder to raise moral. Presenteeism is more painful and costly to manage than absenteeism. So, burn the free fuel! Allow everyone in the team to appreciate, encourage and recognise one another. It gives a lot of meaning to the purpose at hand; i.e. Delivering exceptional results aligned to the mission of the organisation.