Risk & Business Magazine Nesbit Agencies Risk & Business Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 18

FEATURE STORY Although no team is perfect and even the best teams sometimes struggle with one or more of these issues, the finest organizations constantly work to ensure that their answers are “yes.” If you answered “no” to many of these questions, your team may need some work. The first step toward reducing politics and confusion within your team is to understand that there are five dysfunctions (Figure 1) to contend with, and address each that applies, one by one. THE DYSFUNCTIONS DYSFUNCTION #1: ABSENCE OF TRUST This occurs when team members are reluctant to be vulnerable with one another and are unwilling to admit their mistakes, weaknesses or needs for help. Without a certain comfort level among team members, a foundation of trust is impossible. DYSFUNCTION #2: FEAR OF CONFLICT Teams that are lacking on trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered, passionate debate about key issues, causing situations where team conflict can easily turn into veiled discussions and back channel comments. In a work setting where team members do not openly air their opinions, inferior decisions are the result. DYSFUNCTION #3: LACK OF COMMITMENT Without conflict, it is difficult for team members to commit to decisions, creating an environment where ambiguity prevails. Lack of direction and commitment can make employees, particularly star employees, disgruntled. DYSFUNCTION #4: AVOIDANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY When teams don’t commit to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven individuals hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that may seem counterproductive to 18 the overall good of the team. DYSFUNCTION #5: INATTENTION TO RESULTS Team members naturally tend to put their own needs (ego, career development, recognition, etc.) ahead of the collective goals of the team when individuals aren’t held accountable. If a team has lost sight of the need for achievement, the business ultimately suffers. THE REWARDS Striving to create a functional, cohesive team is one of the few remaining competitive advantages available to any organization looking for a powerful point of differentiation. Functional teams avoid wasting time talking about the wrong issues and revisiting the same topics over and over again because of lack of buy-in. Functional teams also make higher quality decisions and accomplish more in less time and with less distraction and frustration. Additionally, “A” players rarely leave organizations where they are part of a cohesive team. Successful teamwork is not about mastering subtle, sophisticated theories, but rather about embracing common sense with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence. Ironically, teams succeed because they are exceedingly human. By acknowledging the imperfections of their humanity, members of functional teams overcome the natural tendencies that make teamwork so elusive. + WWW.TABLEGROUP.COM FIGURE 1: THE FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM >