Table of Contents
We are all part of a team. Whether at work, in a social environment, or even at home, it’s human nature to want to be part of a team. Even though we are often brilliant on our own, working as a team is more than likely to achieve our most excellent outcomes. But teams fail now and then, and often we don’t understand what went wrong. So why do teams fail? How come we hear about teams of all sizes failing in the corporate world and everywhere else? A productive team dynamic is a manager’s biggest challenge and greatest strength.
In the workplace, we rely on the team to make the daily slog the daily success. Failure is the most significant learning curve if managed correctly. But it’s not always so easy to create an atmosphere where your team can succeed despite the small failures that happen.
A quick search of team failures will no doubt give you countless situations where highly successful teams failed, if only for a minor, unnoticed issue that went by without a solution. Over the years, we have recognized the significant reasons teams fail, and fortunately, there are straightforward solutions to these issues. To create productive and influential teams in your workplace, you, as the manager, must be mindful of these pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Our teams make our business firm, and as the saying goes, the chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Your team is only as strong as your management of failure conditions for your team. But what are the significant reasons why teams fail?
Here are some insights as to why teams fail.
Lack of Leadership
Your leadership of your team is where the problems start and will end. The lack of leadership in a team will lead to a breakdown of many team dynamics like cohesion and cooperation. Yet if you lead from the front and show dedication to the goals, your team will likely follow in your footsteps and get the job done well. Without clear leadership roles, the team will flounder, and sooner or later, someone will step up and take the reins. The problem is that when this happens, the “new lead” will be able to undermine the team in any direction they want. Often not where it needs to be. So as a leader, you need to flex your leadership muscles and keep the team focused.
Lack of Vision or Mission
In the same vein, a lack of mission orientation or unclear vision will most certainly lead to team failure. When you first ask, “why is my team failing” you need to clarify the vision and mission for the team. Your team’s focus will be defined by the particular mission or vision for your team. This clarity will facilitate cohesion in your team as the focus is on the team’s common goal. Remember that the team’s mission is not necessarily the global mission of the company but the mission of the project or task that the team is working on. Teams fail when they don’t know what must be achieved.
Poor Decision-Making or Problem Solving
Lack of leadership is one factor why teams fail. Poor decision-making within the team is systemic from poor leadership. If your team struggles to make positive decisions or can’t solve problems, they will fail. Why do teams fail when there is a lack of problem-solving? Well, they don’t get to solutions, and the team’s focus dwindles in this situation. This will rely on you encouraging the various viewpoints on the team to make better decisions and come up with better solutions.
Lack of Accountability and Trust
Accountability is a big reason why teams fail. We have all experienced the finger-pointing that happens when something goes wrong, and there is no clear accountability in your team. This behavior does not foster cohesion and breeds dissent within the team. Being accountable for your team and them accountable to each other will achieve several core positive results. Firstly, you will have a clear line of authority, and secondly, you will have a responsible team that holds each other to higher standards. Accountability in your team will also build trust within the team. Without trust, your team will fail.
In every team, there will be some measure of conflict. The management of this conflict, no matter how big or small, will determine your success. Your team must have the ability to deal with conflict within the work environment, i.e., other teams and each other. This is a crucial skill of both the team manager and the team itself. The morale and productivity issues that can result from conflict will cripple your team in an instant. To have your team deal with conflict, create simple, productive structures that help you deal with conflict.
Lack of creativity management is a killer. Imagine your team sitting around a table offering up third-rate ideas for your latest task without any enthusiasm or “spunk.” Think about it for a minute. Now consider your team bouncing ideas off each other in an environment filled with creativity, openness, and out-the-box thinking. Your team will not fail if they are creative; they will thrive under pressure and be able to deliver on whatever task you give them.
Training and Skills Development
If you give your team a task but don’t offer to train or develop their skills for the task, the only outcome is a failure. So, training and skills development is a vital aspect of a successful team. By building your team up and helping them grow, they will naturally be more committed to their task and team. They will also strive to give back in hard work the gift of training and development. Teams fail when they don’t know how to complete the task at hand, and with proper training, you will build your team into the powerhouse they deserve to be.
Where to Start fixing if Your Team is Failing
It’s one thing to highlight the problem areas for future reference, but what if you are currently in a situation where your team is failing? You need to fix the issues, but where do you start, and how do you recognize the highest priority problems?
The general rule of thumb is to break the problem down into the simplest building blocks. This means you need to take the team down to individual members. Each member will undoubtedly have problems that need addressing, and you will very quickly see the common thread.
The Einstein approach is a straightforward process to evaluate your team and the current struggles keeping them from success. In a time-sensitive situation, you would have to do some of the steps in unison, but this systematic approach will certainly help you determine why your team is failing.
Step One – Individual Understanding
By chatting to each team member alone, you will most likely understand the issues they are dealing with. This part of the process aims to get the personal issues separated from the business issues so that they can be dealt with accordingly. Break the problems down into their simplest parts.
Step Two – Raise the Level of Thinking
Einstein said that you could not solve a problem at the same level of consciousness you created it. So, you must be able to apply the above guidelines within your team structure. Once you have found the common thread for your team failure, you should turn the problem upside down and give it back to the team. If your team is half as good as what you believe they are, they will look at the problems with new energy.
This will also allow you to apply the various guidelines like training and trust-building so that your team can start working closer together once more. The fact that you have reduced the issues to more minor problems will also make the solution-finding easier for a team that is not at its best, which will build productivity and get the creativity flowing again.
In the Blacksheep community, teamwork is given top priority. As a community, we are constantly working to build better team connections and work together better. It sounds simple, but it is a constant drive and focus that requires every effort to maintain. We understand why teams fail. So, we are focused on constantly encouraging our members to excel, promoting the Blacksheep team.
When you think your team might need some productive input or maybe an uplifting empowerment session, the Blacksheep Community can help you get the spirit back in your team. We are talking about the standard hype sessions and the core development skills that will build your team beyond your wildest dreams.