Dysfunctional teams are the bane of many businesses. They dampen staff morale, drain company resources and kill productivity. It’s no wonder team building gets such a large slice of the HR budget.
It’s likely that even the greatest businesses, with the best will in the world, have at some stage or another run into trouble with a dysfunctional team. The most important thing is to address the issues head-on as early as possible. Believe it or not, to do this you don’t need to spend thousands on staff getaways and cheesy workshops.
Below are three very simple steps every business owner and team leader can action today to take their team from messed-up to magnificent.
Some of the most common reasons for a team not functioning well include things like a lack of direction, mistrust and a lack of involvement. These, in general, are all problems that can be overcome by providing greater clarity. That’s clarity in your vision and goals. Clarity in how those goals will be achieved. Clarity in the role each individual will play.
Few things cause dissent in a team like someone not pulling their weight. Once each member of the team knows the part they play, they must take ownership of that element, and be held accountable for its success.
In the same way staff should be praised for their hard work, those that are slacking should also be called out and held accountable. Of course, such matters should be handled discretely, in an honest and frank manner, providing constructive criticism.
Performance reviews are an extremely useful in providing an opportunity to understand how the team is functioning and discuss the positives and negatives of an employee’s contribution at a one-to-one level.
A productive team is one that works together to realise the ultimate goal, not a group of individuals in competition with each other to hit their personal targets. For team harmony and efficiency, leaders must shift the focus to team goals, where individuals, departments and even different regional offices, work towards an overarching goal that has been clearly defined.
Shared incentives can be particularly effective as they encourage team work and greater accountability. Just be sure everyone is committed to the task at the outset.
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David Bell is Managing Director of The HR Department, outsourced human resources specialists for Irish SMEs.