What’s more important to a team: strategy or culture? Why is trust so important to an effective team dynamic, and how does it facility healthy conflict, bolster commitment and improve results?
5 Dysfunctions of a Team is a brief eBook that shines light on all of these questions and more with useful examples and real-world advice that managers and team leads may be able to implement in their own workplaces.
The Importance of Trust
It’s not controversial to believe trust is a valuable lubricant that allows all the other mechanisms of a team to run smoothly. Trust allows for productive conflict, promotes commitment and motivates team members to hold themselves and others accountable in a non-fear-inducing way.
When all those things come together and are working properly, good things often happen.
Trust is a fundamental cultural attribute, not an actual business or management strategy. Establishing trust and nurturing it is something that takes time, effort and sometimes sacrificing one’s own peace of mind.
Signs Trust Is Absent on Your Team
- Struggling employees don’t ask for help
- Weaknesses are hidden
- Team members attempt to show their own value at the expense of others
- Coworkers jump to conclusions and make assumptions about each other’s intentions
- There’s a gossip problem
- Team members generally don’t like being around each other
Fear of Conflict
The “fear of conflict” in this book isn’t focused on managers fearing to hold team members accountable. Instead, it’s primarily concentrated on the fear of employees to speak up and provide honest feedback or input. There are certainly some managers who shy away from criticizing underperforming employees to the detriment of team morale, but there are also managers that bulldoze over team members’ opinions and ideas, demanding things be done their way.
This stifling of debate can be a difficult phenomenon to reverse.
Signs a Fear of Conflict May Exist on Your Team
- No one offers thoughts when a team leader or manager asks for input
- Employees gossip about a leader and criticizes them behind their back
- Team members actively avoid the manager
Lack of Commitment
Passion can sometimes be hard to find when it comes to the workplace. Some people are lucky enough to love what they do, but others may simply gravitate toward jobs that suit their skills and experience.
Even the latter employees can be committed to their jobs and teams in the right circumstances. Creating that team environment where people are committed to common goals and believe in what they’re working towards takes effort from management.
Signs a Team May be Experiencing a Lack of Commitment
- Team members don’t proactively identify and attempt to address issues
- Aimless meetings stray into unrelated non-work topics
- Lip service is paid to team decisions but members gossip and disagree afterwards
- Deadlines are frequently missed or re-negotiated
Avoidance of Accountability
Accountability too often carries a connotation of discipline and potential consequences. This type of fear or punishment-related accountability isn’t the only kind. A healthy team should ideally have a culture of accountability – a lofty goal and high standards that drives everyone to be better.
Establishing this accountability requires managers and team leads to be involved with a team’s daily work, at least to the point where they can measure and document success, failures and improvements. A team also needs clear goals towards which they can strive. Moving targets and limited or non-existent oversight are frequent pitfalls when it comes to a lack of accountability.
Signs Accountability May be Lacking on a Team
- Team members and leadership don’t work to exceed mediocre work
- Failure to follow through when a problem has been identified
- Work is frequently missed or late
- Coworkers take little problems to managers rather than challenging each other to do better
- High turnover of motivated top performers
Inattention to Results
Most companies don’t have some magical report or algorithm that automatically determines team performance. Determining results and understanding what they mean usually requires a manager and their team take the time to:
- Understand key performance indicators (KPIs) and what the ideal results are
- Measure the efficacy of results
- Use findings to identify areas of improvement
It’s hard to hold a team accountable for failing to reach desired results if they don’t know their KPIs. If their managers aren’t paying attention to results, whether they’re good or bad, a team likely won’t receive any constructive feedback.
Signs that Unclear Results or Inadequate Performance Analysis Is a Problem
- Each team member is focused on their task instead of organization or team success
- Leaders don’t see projects through to completion or frequently change focus
- An organization or team fairs poorly against competitors
Download the eBook for Actionable Tips
Your team may not have all these problems, but every business likely has areas where they can improve. Each section of this eBook includes several clear, actionable steps that managers can take that will help promote the kind of culture that ensures team members trust each other, challenge each other to be better and care about business outcomes.
Teams who work at MAC6’s coworking spaces have an opportunity to develop great working relationships while benefiting from the passion of other entrepreneurs in the shared environment. If you’re looking for an environment that’s conducive to team cohesion and a healthy culture, MAC6 may be the place for you.