November 2, 2017

How to improve the performance of a dysfunctional team

In order to function effectively, it’s important that various members of staff within a business are able to work together and get along. But what happens when the team doesn’t function well? What can you, as a business leader, do to turn around a dysfunctional team? Here are some tips to help your low-performing teams be successful.

  1. Overcome the ‘dead weights’

There’s nothing more demoralizing than having one person in a group who seems to be freeloading off the work of the rest of the team. Research from Gallup has found that about 20% of employees are actively disengaged at any one time. These people can demotivate their team or even undermine the value created by their fellow workers. Managers need to work with these individuals to find out what motivates them and get them engaged in their work so that they don’t drag their coworkers down with them.

  1. Establish clear goals and objectives

It’s easy to look at individuals within the team to assign blame to when things start to go wrong. But, ultimately the responsibility for any team’s success or failure lies with the leader. If your team hasn’t been given a clear direction on what they are meant to achieve, they are bound to fail. As the leader, one of your most important jobs is to ensure your team has a clear understanding of what the organizational goals are from the start so that employees don’t feel frustrated and demotivated.

  1. Increase transparency and honesty

It’s important that team members receive honest feedback about how they are going so they know they are heading in the right direction. You should also be transparent about anything that goes wrong – while it may seem it will reduce morale, being transparent is important for your staff to learn from any mistakes and reduce the risk of making the same ones again in the future.

  1. Improve accountability

Everyone wants to be liked – it’s only human nature after all. So it can be difficult for managers to have to hold staff to account and be seen as the ‘bad guy’. Members of the best performing teams will hold each other to account but responsibility for overall accountability rests with the leader. Setting the standards by which all members of the team (including the leaders) will be held accountable is vitally important to ensure success.

  1. Regular feedback

Providing regular feedback to your team on their progress is critical for the team to succeed. Making a point to provide praise both in front of the whole team as well as to individuals can make a massive difference to productivity. Criticism, when appropriate, is also important so the team/individual learns how to improve. Any feedback must be given in a detailed way that outlines what was done, why it was good (or bad) and how it impacts the business.

There are a number of ways to improve a dysfunctional team but, by focusing on these 5 key areas, you can have an immediate impact. It’s also important to remember that this shouldn’t be a ‘set and forget’ exercise – it’s vital that these activities become part of your managing style. By implementing these strategies, your team will be functioning at an optimal level in no time. If you need help with implementing systems and procedures so that your team can perform better – get in touch. We’d love to help.

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