Effective teams are not a random event. They are usually the result of good leadership, a working environment that prioritises collaboration and communication, and a solid company culture. However, even an organisation with effective teams can deteriorate over time. You want to watch out for the warning signs so that you can correct problems as soon as possible. Here are five signs your employees aren’t working as a team.
A Breakdown in Communications
Communication is critical to the success of teams, so a breakdown of communications is a clear sign people are not working well together.
Always be on the lookout for the development of sub-teams that don’t want to deal with each other and subject matter experts not acting like members of the team. The root causes can range from bullying to distrust to low morale. It can also be driven by teams refusing to listen to a variety of perspectives and letting everyone have a say.
One way to restore cohesion is through team-building activities like these London events by teamtactics.co.uk. They offer fun events like treasure hunting across London, physically demanding obstacle courses, problem solving challenges and recreational outings. All of these events are designed to make people think of themselves as part of a larger ‘we’ instead of ‘me’.
A Lack of Decision-Making
The inability of teams to make decisions is a warning sign. It may be due to a lack of trust, a lack of cohesion and unresolved conflict, or it may be due to fixation on past or current problems instead of their solution. All of this contributes to a lack of buy-in, low morale and low productivity. These problems appear in their inability to move forward, whether they can’t come to a decision or make a decision without any effort to implement them.
You can encourage people to move forward by engaging in “future back” exercises; each person imagines what things will be like when their problems are solved. They imagine what they need to get to this point and can then plan how to resolve the issue.
A Lack of Trust
Teams rely on trust. If team members don’t trust each other, they won’t work well together. A lack of trust may prevent them from talking to each other or assuming negative intentions that cause them to doubt what they’re told. They may avoid each other or refuse to ask for help. Leaders can cultivate trust by rewarding honesty and being honest and open themselves. After all, leaders should lead by example.
Blame and Lack of Responsibility
Blame and lack of responsibility are two sides of the same coin. People who don’t want to take responsibility will over-defend their behaviours or fail to assume responsibility. If pressed, they may try to solve the problem by blaming others.
This can be due to a lack of trust, lack of emotional safety, or fear of failure. Leaders can address this by modelling accountability, promoting ownership of mistakes, and treating failures as learning opportunities instead of punishing those who are blamed. Constant scapegoating among team members requires leadership to talk to each team member, identify root causes, and address them.
Turnover rates vary by industry and workgroup. If your turnover has spiked, something is wrong. It could be due to a lack of trust, an oppressive culture or pay rates that are no longer competitive. You can determine what is happening by having a formal exit interview process to ask people why they are leaving. Then you can address the root causes. Meetings with team members to assess issues and build engagement can help you keep those who remain.
Teams are the workhorse of any organisation. Their smooth function is essential to your business. Look out for these warning signs, so that you can correct problems before your teams fall apart and performance suffers.