Characteristics and Solutions of Dysfunctional Teams
Working with dysfunctional project teams can cause a loss in project success. "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team," by Patrick Lencioni discusses several factors involved in the breakdown of team projects. Large in scope and encompassing several factors, he describes many elements listed below:
Lack of Commitment: team members who are not committed to the project or the company are less likely to contribute causing low morale, missed deadlines and lack of trust among members. Tackle this problem in a dysfunctional team by picking members who are already invested in the project and want to make sound contributions.
Lack of Trust: trust is an important factor within any team. Members must be able to rely on one another to manage roles and responsibilities, project deliverables and support team members. Manage lack of trust by creating a forum for open communication. Speaking freely and professionally to team members allows for sharing of ideas and issues, leaving little room for any misunderstanding.
Unproven Strategies for Success: team members don't believe in the processes, technology or strategies being used. To counteract this, present the team with synopsis from previous projects that were successful for the organization. Management is happy to share this information if it will lead to the same outcome.
Micromanagement: team members are micro-managed, therefore not able to create solutions to problems on their own. Team leaders are responsible for trusting team members. Keeping an open door policy and tracking goals daily are great ways to stave off micromanagement.
Lack of Interest: team members know that they will not be affected by the positive or negative project outcome. Interest can be created by reiterating how the project affects the job of each team member and the goals of the organization overall.
Lack of Accountability: team members do not accept constructive criticism, recognize or take responsibility for mistakes that are blamed on colleagues or the project manager. Setting responsibilities along with daily and weekly goals creates accountability. As goals are met, confidence increases and everyone wants to be accountable for success.
Avoiding Conflict: team members who avoid conflicts are completely de-motivated, do not give their best effort or communicate with team members. Communicating in team environments solves many problems including conflict avoidance. To keep animosities from building employ open sessions for discussion and if serious communication issues arise, mediation is quick and effective.
By addresses each of these elements, team leaders have the opportunity to identity strengths and weaknesses in team members, readjust team dynamics and deter breakdowns as they occur.