It's important that a team is able to run smoothly for productivity goals, as well as for engagement and morale. However, there are many reasons why a group of professionals may become dysfunctional. From clashing personalities to imbalanced workloads, there are many factors that can upset the balance of a team, but there may be one you haven't thought of: you.
According to Patrick Lencioni’s book, the 5 dysfunctions of a team are:
- The absence of trust
- Fear of conflict
- Lack of commitment
- Avoidance of accountability
- Inattention to results
None of these can manifest among professionals without management failing to some degree.
It's a manager's responsibility to ensure that there is a culture of trust and accountability, while commitment and engagement are the foundations of employee progression. But how do you know if you're the cause of the problem?
Are you a weak boss?
No one wants to admit to being weak, especially if you're in management, but if you don't have the bottle to stand up and be counted, chances are you're creating problems on your team. As a manager, you are expected to be an advocate for the professionals you're in charge of. This may mean opposing the views of people higher up in the company or challenging peers. If you're not capable of doing this when necessary, then it's difficult to create a culture of trust and accountability.
However, it's not all about fighting the good fight. Being a weak boss can also be making promises to your team that you never follow through with. This 'yes man' mentality can be even more damaging for the smooth running of a team as it will harbor bad feelings towards you and the company as a whole.
Are employees leaving?
Employees leaving often comes with the territory for any substantial business, but if you have a high turnover rate then the management may be to blame. You should be working with every individual on your team to create a relationship of open communication, where you can tell them areas where they need to improve and they can tell you any concerns they have. Annual appraisals won't establish this sort of mutual respect and honesty, so it's important to have regular catch-ups with the people on your team. This gives you the opportunity to discuss personal and professional problems or concerns and allows you to engage them in the team and the organization as a whole.
Poor employee retention should be a red flag that something isn't going right with the team dynamics and managers have to take part of the responsibility for this.
Is engagement poor?
Are employees on the team overly negative and reluctant to get behind new initiatives such as training or expansion plans? If so, this is likely to lead to a dysfunctional team. Even if it's just a handful of people, this disengagement can have a massive impact on how a group works together and how they view the organization.
Managers should try to understand the cause of the poor levels of engagement and speak to those necessary to make meaningful changes. A lack of engagement can damage productivity and increase turnover, so it's in the business's best interest to get people excited about working for the company.