Expert Author Kate Tammemagi

The immediate symptoms that of difficulties within teams are easily observed. The results of an ineffective team are all too apparent, poor performance, unhappy Customers and poor relationships with other departments.

A manager or owner will often make the mistake of working on the surface symptoms within the team. This can be frustrating, as it does not deliver long-term improvement. Often the more the manager tries, the worse the team problems become.

Work on the Underlying Causes
The way to resolve team issues is to work on the underlying causes rather than the visible symptoms. Think of the solution to your team issues as a hierarchy, where you will start at the top level and work on each level in turn until you build a highly effective team. As you do so, the symptoms will disappear, and your team will become more successful.

1. Problems with Shared Purpose
• Are the team totally familiar with your Company purpose?
• Do they know where their contribution fits in achieving the Company goals and targets?
• Are they aware of the importance of their role?

2. Problems with Goals
• Do people understand and accept the team's purpose and accountabilities?
• Do they discuss all aspects of the role and the different priorities?
• Do they have weekly and monthly goals and targets to meet?
• How is achievement and improvement acknowledged and celebrated?
• How do they manage stressors or blocks to goal achievement?

3. Problems with Roles
• Does each team member know his or her role clearly?
• Have these expectations been shared? Do they match?
• Do individual objectives fit with the team's overall objectives?
• Are there areas of overlap or duplication between task roles that could produce conflict?
• Is each team member aware of the need to use their influence positively to create a positive team dynamic?
• Is there a positive forum for team members to discuss and know what they expect of each other?

4. Problems with Processes
• Are the team members bonded as a team? Do they have activities or meetings to build a sense of belonging to a team?
• How are decisions taken? Are authority levels clear?
• Are communication processes across the team working?
• What type of meetings do you have? Are meetings effective?
• Do you have the right range of different types of meetings to ensure team effectiveness?
• How do they plan together?
• How are problems and conflicts resolved?
• How do they be creative - generate innovation?
• How is activity coordinated? Are reporting procedures understood and adhered to?

5. Problems with Relationships
• How do team members treat and feel about each other?
• Are people's individual needs recognised and respected?
• Does the team climate allow for open debate and sharing of concerns?
• Does the team and leader encourage feedback on team and individual performance?

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