How many ways can you say 'this team isn't working well together?' Dysfunctional? Broken? Inhibited? Any way you say it, a team that's demonstrating unhealthy behaviours needs to press the 'reset' button and learn some team working skills.
More often than not, the heart of the issue with dysfunctional teams is assumption about roles, responsibilities, abilities and conflicts between individuals. Lack of clarity is often the cause. This breeds mistrust, and a lack of trust is the undoing of a successful goal achievement for any team.
The best time to put a team on the right track is when they are newly formed. However, many teams have been together for a while and still aren't high-functioning.
Whether your team is newly formed or has been working as a collective for a while, going back to the basics of developing a solid foundation is a great place to start.
Understanding the dynamics of your team
If you ask someone about their team, more often than not you'll be met by an assortment of facts and figures about the academic and professional achievements of team members. There's often a corporate assumption that people who are excellent technically must naturally be good at working together. This assumption is proven incorrect time after time.
Of course, there's no question of the importance of having a team with the hard skills and knowledge required to do the job, but how many teams take behaviour into account? This critical element is often the missing piece.
Giving your team the tools to gain a deeper understanding of how they behave, their strengths and limitations and their motivators will help create an environment of understanding that will enable effective team working skills that satisfy the preferences of all team members.
Uncovering the behavioural and emotional preferences of individuals will empower teams to come to their own conclusions of how best to communicate, how to motivate employees and ultimately how to develop team working skills that will have the biggest influence on performance.
Identify the gaps
What happens if there's a gap in your team? How can you ensure you recruit someone who will fit with the dynamic of the current team? Behavioural benchmarking can help to both identify those gaps and recruit someone to fit.
Look at the behaviours of your current team - set a template of the ideal culture, roles and leadership style required for your team in order to deliver its business objectives.
This template will enable you to compare your ideal team with your existing team, understand whether a new recruit is likely to fit with the team culture and detail your team make-up and each individual's role within a team.
An objective analysis of your current and ideal team is critical in minimising the risk of developing a team without the right team working skills to succeed.
Feedback is a gift!
We all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve.
This is as true for teams as it is individuals.
360 feedback is essential in helping teams to recognise how their behaviour is perceived across the business. Is the team dynamic working? Or is it having a negative impact on the perception of the team across the business?
By opening your team up to feedback from others, you will receive essential feedback and recommendations that could help you to take your team from good to great.
Once you've set the foundations - maintain it! A commitment to making individual and team improvements and changes that enhance performance and capitalise on strengths, will ensure your team is constantly working together as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Why not implement training courses for your team? This will not only help to enhance soft skills within your team, but also provide a fantastic opportunity for team and relationship building. Showing your support to developing the team will ensure individual members feels a growing sense of trust and recognition within the organisation. When team members are able to trust each other and work collaboratively, motivation increases and objectives are easier to reach.
When team members work well together, there is little they cannot accomplish. Make sure you're looking at the bigger picture when it comes to your teams and increase your chances of developing a high performing team.