When I presented at a HR conference in Sydney I challenged the audience on the question, "How many actively chose the members of their teams at work". Not surprisingly no one did. There was an expectation that a group of people put together as a 'team' would just work it out.
How often has that been the case?. In the business of people the development of a team should be no less considered than the time spent on ensuring that the financials are correct or the production line equipment is working to optimum. Sadly in my experience the people aspects of business are poorly considered by most organisations and they wonder why when the team fails to perform. There are many good models and materials available to help develop high performing teams. From my perspective a necessary but not sufficient ingredient is the psychological fit of the members. I use a variety of instruments both Australian developed and International with sound results in better aligning expectations. Other aspects for consideration are the team dynamics about which I present two aspects below.
In the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni identified the dysfunctions as interrelated and requiring conbined attention.
Dysfunction No. 1: Absence of Trust- trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. without it, teamwork is all but impossible.
Dysfunction No. 2: Fear of Conflict - teams that engage in productive conflict know that its only purpose is to produce the best possible solutions in the shortest period of time.
Dysfunction No.3: Lack of Commitment - commitment is a function of two things: clarity and but-in. Great teams make clear and timely decisions and move forward with complete buy-in from every member of the team.
Dysfunction No. 4: Avoidance of Accountability - accountability refers specifically to the willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behjaviour that might hurt the team.
Dysfunction No. 5: Inattention to Results- is the tendence of members to care about something other that the collective goals of the group.
Howard Guttman researched the ingredients of great business teams. He found, perhaps not surprisingly, the following components:
they are led by high-performance leaders who create a burning platform - an energising principle
they are us-directed in that no one's performance is exempt from scrutiny
they play by protocols and recognise that ambiguity kills effective decision making nd wastes time
they continually raise the performance bar, and
they have a supportive performance management team
So, there is the challenge. Put in place the appropriate ingredients and ensure the dysfunctions are not creeping into the team especially over time.