As you know, effective teams are a hallmark of world-class businesses. Effective teams will out-perform and out-innovate any comparable group of individuals. We’ve written a great deal about the process of building such teams, so today we’re going to look at four factors that will destroy the “team spirit” you are working to create. I’ve seen each of these play out in real life, with disastrous results every single time.
Differing vision. Effective teams share the same vision and the same objectives. Whether it’s the New England Patriots coming together for training camp in the summer with the objective of winning the Super Bowl or a small team in your workplace dedicated to a particular problem, the key is that everyone must have the same goal. It’s your job to articulate this goal, frequently, and inspire your team to buy in.
Poor communication or no communication. Poor communication will sabotage your teams before they even have a chance to get started. Team members must be able to share feedback and information with one another in a clear and effective manner. For some employees, this isn’t a problem. But oftentimes, good communication skills must be learned – and it’s up to you to see that they are. Set the standards and lead by example.
Personal conflict. Conflict, for any number of reasons, can tear apart a team. Whether it is caused by competition for a promotion or by personal animosity, conflict will distract and divide your teams. Demand professionalism from your employees and ensure that they are able to put aside personal differences in order to get their job done. If they can’t, re-assign them.
Lack of focus and accountability. In order to keep your team engaged, it’s important that they have a narrowly defined focus and that they are held accountable. Otherwise, it’s easy to “drift” through the workday secure in the knowledge that you aren’t personally responsible for anything. Not only does this lead to laziness, but it removes the sense of purpose that is necessary to keep your team working together towards the common goal. Every member of your team should be personally accountable for specific tasks and processes.
Effective teams can take your business to the next level. Ineffective teams will drag you down. This may sound dramatic, but I’ve seen time and time again that this is true. So don’t let any of these factors pop up in your workplace!