No Common Identity or clear focus
People have become used to working independently and view collaboration as a nuisance. Staff may not feel mutually accountable to one another for the team’s objectives. There may be a lack of commitment and effort, conflict between team goals and members’ personal goals, or poor collaboration. As a result the team doesn’t really know how to function. The team has lost focus on results or members have never been clear of their goals in the first place. Without a clear focus, team members frequently react to events in their immediate environment. They become distracted by other team members or simply respond to whatever issue lands in their lap. There’s no strategic team focus or energy to move forward.
This is a key issue. Some leaders are too busy concentrating on their own political or career agenda. Other leaders just don’t understand their role or possess good leadership skills. Leaders can fail teams by not defining a compelling vision for the team, not delegating, or not representing multiple constituencies. There is no understanding of or allowance for situational leadership utilizing the strengths of the team members. Effective leadership is critical to help the team succeed. Without it, team members will resort to their own methods. Some will run as far and fast as they can to prove themselves, pushing boundaries and taking on too much risk. Others will sit idle for as long as they can, performing as little as possible, yet complaining about how much work needs to get done. Another aspect is Inflexible Decision-making. Team members may be rigidly adhering to their positions during decision making to preserve the status quo for selfish reasons or refusing to introduce and work with new information and new ideas.
Lack of Innovation and creativity
The team is unable to generate fresh ideas and perspectives and or convert unexpected setbacks into opportunities. Teams end up doing the same thing while expecting differing results – the definition of insanity! The team is unwilling or unable to consider alternative ideas or approaches. There is a lack of critical thinking or debate over ideas. There is a false emphasis on team agreement and unity without real effectiveness. The team is stuck in practices that may have been established years ago. They’ve gotten lazy or stopped trying new approaches. New team members may be frustrated by the apparent lack of openness to new ideas or ways of operating. Experienced team members defend the way things have always been done. The most effective teams can maintain best practices while adapting to new environments or organizational changes.
This is an area with great potential for disruption of effective teams. There is no effective communication system in place or the systems are outmoded, irrelevant and not modified to face situational reality. Other reasons for poor communication can be unresolved conflicts. Team members refuse to talk with or listen to each other, or may interrupt or talk over one another. There may be consistent silence from some members during meetings, allusions to problems but failure to formally address them, or false consensus (everyone nods in agreement without truly agreeing). Poor communication can also result in a lack of participation or involvement. There may be poor attendance at team meetings or low energy during meetings.