Don’t Tolerate Dysfunctional Teams

Guest post from regular contributor S. Chris Edmonds:

Two
key indicators of a healthy team are that
they are productive (getting tasks done to standards, on budget and on time)
and effective (working together with a
minimum of drama.)

A
2013
University of Phoenix survey
revealed that nearly 7 in 10 American workers have served on dysfunctional
teams. Though 95% reported that teams serve an important function in
organizations, less than 24% of respondents prefer to work on teams.

Further details reveal common issues in teams:

·        
40% have witnessed a verbal confrontation

·        
15% have seen confrontations
turn physical

·        
40% reported a team member blaming another member for problems

·        
32% observed a team member start a rumor about another member

Sadly,
left to ourselves, we humans don’t always
behave well with others. We often give into the temptation to leverage
information and power to benefit ourselves, which creates an “I win, you lose”
culture.

Self-Serving Team Members
 
Where
do we learn to be selfish? Although it can be innate “wired” behavior, it is often likely that it is “acquired” behavior, learned through watching the dynamics in the family,
school, sports, or the community.  We observe and practice behaviors that are
modeled or tolerated by leaders and peers.

I
believe many of us have been blessed to have served on a productive and effective team at least once in our lives. However, the research suggests that too often,
teams are not productive AND effective.  This is
not only frustrating for team members but
can cost real money.  A
2009 study of New Zealand businesses found that one unproductive team can cost a company $140,000 a year.

Most of the senior leadership teams I work with are teams in name only. They
do not have a common purpose or shared
values and goals. They’re not partnered
with a requirement that they work together. Instead, they are simply a group of
people who meet regularly to fight each other for resources (funds, people, etc.) every day.

I
engage to help these “groups” create a shared servant purpose and identify their
values, strategies, and goals. We create
agreements to help each member align their behaviors with those stated values.
We develop clear expectations. Without these in place, team members can quickly resort to actions that serve their own
interests, which severely affects the
team’s overall productivity and effectiveness.

It
doesn’t take much to identify a
dysfunctional team. Don’t tolerate it. Step in and intentionally guide the team
to clarify why they exist, and what they can expect from one another as they
work together to fulfill their purpose. 
You are likely to start seeing your teams thrive.

S. Chris Edmonds is a sought-after speaker, author,
and executive consultant. After a 15-year career leading successful teams,
Chris founded his consulting company,
The Purposeful Culture Group,
in 1990. Chris has also served as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard
Companies since 1995. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including
Amazon best sellers
The Culture Engine and
Leading at a Higher Level with Ken Blanchard. Learn from his blog posts,
podcasts, assessments, research, and videos at
http://drivingresultsthroughculture.com.
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