Teamwork: Common Pitfalls and How to Conquer Them

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Just because the necessity of teamwork has been preached to us since childhood doesn’t mean we’re inherently good at it—or even like it for that matter. Working with other people can be challenging, even more so in the workplace when stakes are high.

Teamwork: Common Pitfalls

So now that we’re off the little league field, what can we, as working adults, do to have a positive and winning team? According to Patrick Lencioni, there are five core areas where dysfunction can be seen in teams: lack of trust, fear of conflict, avoidance of commitment, absence of accountability and lack of focus on results.

The following posts focus on each of these dysfunctions. What you read might sound familiar. You may even realize what’s been in the way of your team performing at its best. In each post, we dig deep into stories of dysfunctional teams and explore ways to combat that dysfunction. We also share real-world examples of large companies you’ll recognize who have suffered one or more of these dysfunctions themselves.

  1. Three Ways to Develop Trust at Work

Teamwork: Common Pitfalls

Emmanuelle looks around the room at the sales team. She’s new at the company and still learning about the relationship dynamics between her coworkers. Tensions are running high as it was just announced that the team didn’t make their sales goal for the second month in a row. Not that she’s surprised.

Emmanuelle has been racking her brain trying to figure out how to navigate this new playing field. What’s going on with this team? Why is it so dysfunctional? Read here to find out.

  1. Why Conflict at Work is a Good Thing

Teamwork: Common Pitfalls

When Gabriel visited headquarters from his Milwaukee office, everything seemed great. Members of the team welcomed him warmly, invited him to lunch, and had his workstation set up. Gabriel would be there for a week to transition the team to a new software platform to track their hours, request vacation days, check benefits, find employee discounts, and access health coach advice.

By the time Gabriel finished onboarding the whole team, the “great” office seemed anything but. Read here to find out why.

  1. Does Your Team Have Commitment Issues?

It was a beautiful Wednesday afternoon and Claudia was irritated.

She’d just left her weekly product development meeting, and despite genuine effort, she still had no idea where her team was going. It didn’t matter how many questions she asked, or how many concrete priorities she suggested, no one on the team could definitively commit. That’s fine when you’re in the innovation stages, but the team was well past that point.

Is there anything that could help Claudia’s team get back on track? Let’s start by identifying the major problem. Read here to learn what that problem is and how to solve it.

  1. Why Accountability is a Must for Teamwork and How to Create It

“Courtney really gets on my nerves,” Mario said to his coworker Amira. The two were sitting in the commissary, trays of food in front of them, ready to eat lunch.

“She has to be ‘miss perfect’ and flaunt finishing her projects,” Mario continued. “Yet getting her work done before everyone else doesn’t satisfy her—she continually asks other people if they’ve finished their projects yet. It’s like she wants to toss us under the bus every chance she gets.”

Back in the office, Tanya, the team manager, is frustrated. Only one person on her team, Courtney, actually meets deadlines. And now the department head is coming down on her, accusing her of not managing her team properly. How can she get her team to get their work done? Read here to find out.

  1. Here’s What Happens When a Team is Not Results-Oriented

Team is Not Results-Oriented

Sabina and her cousin Ramin built a patient portal platform, Medtown Square, for small medical practices, which incorporates articles and message boards to foster a sense of community and care. After a lot of blood, sweat and tears the product went live two years ago.

The good news is that they managed to keep their relationship intact. The bad news is that the product is tanking. Ramin and Sabina are distressed, and their investors aren’t too happy either. Why is this happening? Sabina offers no insight; she is too busy leading the web development team to deeply analyze what’s been going wrong. Are they doomed to join the ranks of the thousands of startups that fail? Read here to find out.

I wish you the best of luck with your teams. What do you find is the greatest strength a work team can have? Let’s learn together. Leave a comment below, send me an email, or find me on Twitter.

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