After decades of observing teams as an executive leadership coach, I’ve come to realize two things.
First, every team has issues to overcome before they can function effectively.
Second, every team has the ability to navigate those issues and do great work together. There aren’t any shortcuts, but you can make it happen with determination and hard work.
Here are some of the most common obstacles I see in teams. Think about the teams you’re involved with as you read through and see if you recognize any patterns:
Weak leadership. When a team isn’t meeting expectations, the problem often lies not with the team but with the leader. If the leader isn’t up to it, someone else on the team needs to step up, even unofficially. Once the ineffective leader sees how it’s done, they may begin to serve more effectively. If not, the bases are covered. Bottom line: in the absence of leadership, it is the responsibility of the team to step up and lead the way. The solution is to establish sound leadership.
Lack of connection. When a team can’t connect, the real issue is usually communication. And that’s critical, because communication is the one of the most important factors in successful teamwork. Fostering communication means being open to suggestions and concerns, asking questions and offering help. The solution is to establish cohesive communication among your team members.
Only a few members are engaged. If you’ve ever attended a meeting where two or three people are doing all the discussion, you understand this issue. Fairness aside, it’s not sustainable. Sooner or later, the rock stars will quit carrying the others, and the entire team will go down. Everyone member needs a role that fits their abilities, and accountability for carrying it out. The solution is to find a way for everyone to be of value.
Trust is lacking. This one’s simple, although it may be the most important of all. If you can’t trust your teammates, you don’t have a team. Trust is the foundation of any effective team. The solution is to model and foster trust, trustworthiness, and trusting relationships.
Self-serving attitudes. When a team member’s in it only for themselves, they do real damage. They withhold information, fail to communicate and can’t be trusted. It doesn’t take them long to erode the team’s fiber. The solution is to build a culture based on working together, connecting together and winning together.
Death by consensus. Consensus is great, but it often takes a bad turn. Months can pass with the same topic unresolved because people are absent or disengaged. If no one’s interested, don’t make it important. Give a deadline for opinions and then make a decision. The solution is to set objectives, solve problems and plan for action.
Lead From Within: Creating an effective team is ongoing process that takes leadership and partnership. It can be challenging work, but it’s well worth the effort.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
THE LEADERSHIP GAP
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.