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Lack of Teamwork

Lack of Teamwork – Forcing Rather Than Forming a Team

Lack of teamwork can be a problem for a number of reasons. In this article we look particularly at the risk of this occuring during the formation phase of a team, where it seems that the team is being forced to achieve its goals rather than being formed to do that. The distinction is that there is too much emphasis on results and not enough on the needs of the team.

Continuing our series on stages of team development using out STAR team model, in this article we consider how to avoid a team being forced to perform rather than forming and the lack of teamwork that results.

Whilst every team and context is different a few important teamwork tips can provide a basis on which to develop your approach to avoid the danger of lack of teamwork.

The STAR team model suggests that effective teamwork in the workplace happens when four elements (Strengths, Teamwork, Alignment and Results) are in place:

  • Individuals flourish as they use and develop theirStrengths
  • People come together building relationships that result in effective Teamwork
  • The team leader Aligns the team through effective communication of purpose, so that individual strengths combine with teamwork to deliver the teams results
  • Together everyone achieves more as performance flows and Results that are meaningful and rewarding to the team are achieved

A different emphasis and focus for each of the STAR model elements is needed at different stages of the team’s development. There is however a risk that too much emphasis on results can lead to a team being forced to perform and not developing teamwork skills.

Forcing performance from a team is often characterized by:

  • A focus on the task without regard for the needs of team members
  • Impatience with lack of progress
  • The leader is directive and tries to drive performance
  • A “just get it done” response to conflict
  • Little involvement of the team in planning or decision making

During the forming stage it is possible that a frustration with a lack of focus on the task, and of initial difficulties with the group could lead to a team leader forcing the situation with a very strong focus on the task at the expense of supporting the sense of togetherness of the group.

Initially this may result in the team performing well and in the short-term achieving its results. The danger is that very soon the team members will start to retreat within themselves, disliking the forceful nature of the leadership approach.

Of course it may be at times necessary to be more forceful to shift a team’s focus back to achieving results, but over the longer term a leadership approach should be about balancing an emphasis on results, on teamwork and on the strengths of individuals. Without the leader ensuring that these three aspects are aligned lack of teamwork is likely to be the outcome.

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 a good place to start might be to think through why is teamwork important , or you may want to think about how you define teamwork or reminding yourself of the benefits of teamwork.

Where to go from here:


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