When teams become exhausting
When teams become exhausting
Poor teamwork can be a major drain on energy in any team. But it can be a particular problem when trying to develop your team after the start-up stage.
There may be many reasons for poor teamwork but often it’s because one or several individuals try to dominate the group. This tends to happen when individuals try to impose solutions to meet their own needs, which are often in conflict with the needs of the team.
Continuing our series on stages of team development using our STAR team model, in this article we consider how to help identify and overcome poor teamwork.
The STAR team model suggests that effective teamwork in the workplace happens when four elements (Strengths, Teamwork, Alignment and Results) are in place:
A different emphasis and focus for each of the STAR model elements is needed at different stages of the team’s development. But whatever stage your team is at, too much emphasis on the individual can cause significant problems.
Instead of individual strengths coming together, what you often see is the weaknesses of individuals surfacing. Team ethic may not be accepted or undermined, and an attitude of “I’ll do as I want” of “I know best” can take precedent. As a result team effectiveness may be reduced, especially if other team members start to take defensive positions.
Why might individuals cause problems when working with the team? There can be numerous reasons so here are a few areas to look out for. Problem individuals may be:
The first approach to address poor teamwork should be to talk with any individuals concerned and ask them if they have any problems/frustrations with being a part of the team. Ask them where they see their strengths, what their goals are, and where they feel they can contribute. Talk through some or all of the above points to explore issues and possible resolutions. Many of the reasons for conflict can be resolved by providing appropriate support and encouragement.
Much can also be done by ensuring that the team starts properly. Ensure its goals and results are developed and confirmed together, with all members contributing to this process. It’s also a good idea for team leaders to talk through the team stages process, highlighting the way teams develop. This helps all team members to see the potential pitfalls associated with poor teamwork, and understand where the focus needs to be as the team develops.
Taking time to encourage the team to agree a teamwork ethos also establishes some of the boundaries for the way individuals are expected to behave. If you are taking over an existing team, where there seems to be poor teamwork, then starting with establishing what the team understands as effective teamwork will help to address many of the attitudinal issues.
Poor teamwork can become exhausting, particularly if you are dealing with individuals who are not committed to the team. Dealing early with the issues can prevent problems emerging later in the team’s development.
If you do have the time to read more on this topic, why not go to our teamwork articles. To read more of about our teamwork concept – the STAR team model- see our articles teamwork theories, teamwork defined and teamwork in the workplace. For a more general introduction to team development, a good place to start might be thinking about why teamwork is important or how you define teamwork, before reminding yourself of the benefits of teamwork.
If you want to put our teamwork concept into action, you’ll find more information and a wealth of practical resources, in our colossal Team Building Bundle.
Containing 240 pages and 50 tools, these are the 8 key guides we recommend to help you do more than define teamwork, build it!
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