Have you ever been part of a great team at work? A team where you love to come to every morning, a team that charged you up with energy, and a team that encouraged you to accomplish goals you thought were impossible. On this team, you felt a great sense of belonging and believed that others had your back in every situation. This team made work fun, exciting and an adventure every day.

Have you ever been on the team from hell? A team where there are constant conflict and disagreement, a team where you are walking on eggshells and afraid to speak up or share honest feelings? People were afraid, kept their heads down and were okay throwing you under the bus if it helped them in any way.

People are the most critical asset to a business. Therefore, a wrong hire into an existing functional team can crumble your business and a right hire can scale your business.   

Dysfunction of a team.

These five factors are the major dysfunction of a team and how team leaders and head of departments can tackle it.

  • Absence of Trust: If a team leader is not trusted, they can’t be inspiring or trusted to resolve conflicts, get the team to embrace stretch goals or believe their communications. The lack of trust slows down everything. Building a positive relationship increases trust. Being consistent and keeping to your word makes you a person that can be trusted. To solve this trust issue as a leader, you have to go first, encourage vulnerability and sincerely run your team.
  • Fear of Conflict: Conflicts can tear a team apart and leaders need to work to help resolve differences quickly and promote cooperation. When team leads don’t encourage people to share their thought, even if it’s not in line with yours, if you aren’t careful, you will share ideas for a project with your team and someone amongst them knows that that project is likely to fail but couldn’t say because they weren’t allowed to do so. The fear of conflict, the fear of being shut down when you have a divergent thought. The fear of sharing your mind or contributing your thoughts can be counterproductive to how your team is functioning. You must encourage conflict, not in a destructive manner. Mine for conflict and encourage an open atmosphere to share their thoughts.
  • Lack of Commitment: Be a broken record and help team members to be focused on the vision. Sometimes when we communicate, we are too ambiguous. Learn to break a goal down, keep your team informed, up-to-date and on track. Ambiguity can affect performance and lack of commitment. It is important to force clarity and closure.  
  • Avoidance of Accountability: Nobody wants to take up a role or responsibility, nobody wants to admit their fault. When people are running away from taking up roles and responsibility, you have not encouraged them to stand out because you have not raised the standard. It is advisable to confront difficult issues.
  • Inattention to Results: Thiscomes in when you are not tracking performance. Team leaders sometimes get overly focused on punishing or tracking non-performance during appraisal and people who are performing at a high level is left behind. Rather use them as a standard and framework to encourage other people. The hindrance to that is status and ego. Focus on collective outcomes, focus on the big goals and give productive results.

Keep shifting the goal post to encourage innovation/newness in your team. Culture is not just the way we do things but what leadership allows.

Come into your workplace, get the work done and leave. If you have a loving and supportive boss, fine. If they are not, it is not an excuse for non-performance. It’s a workplace, not a loving place.


AOT LAGOS 5.0 - The Creative Economy & A Digital Lagos