If you manage a team you have probably asked yourself this question many times. Why should you invest time (and maybe money) into an activity that will be forgotten the next day? My first thought on this is to carefully consider the importance of your team dynamics. Does it really matter if they work together effectively or not? It may not matter. Who really cares if they are dysfunctional? Now, to most teams, it does matter. Their tasks are interwoven and interdependent. So IF it matters, read on.
Dysfunctional teams can place a whole lot of drag on the speed of reaching goals. We have all worked on teams that needed help and know the personal impact of that workplace. Personally, I’d rather not think about that; it’s too stressful. Teams can become dysfunctional for many reasons. What we need to be able to do is to be aware the team is moving from rockin’ and rollin’ to a dysfunctional state.
Inc. Magazine published a very good article that talks about why good teams become dysfunctional. They give seven reasons, and most of them center around goal clarity. Leaders could benefit greatly by giving team members a one-question survey that asks: What is our purpose? They might be surprised at the answers.
I have conducted team development sessions for several years and am always surprised at what the team leaders do not know. My response has always been: why not ask? Dear leaders, do you know the level of trust in your team? Do you know the level of morale? Can your team members clarify their purpose and clearly state their goals? Knowledge is power.
I would encourage you to find the answers to these questions. It could be as simple as posting one question on a flipchart at a team meeting, pass out a small piece of paper to every team member, leave the room and have them answer the question. There you go. Simple.