For any small business to thrive, the success of individual members must translate into a successful team.
When a team is underperforming it means lower profits and can also affect opportunities, promotions, innovation and overall morale.
While most business owners have an understanding of the importance of teams, many businesses continue to focus their performance review and reward systems on the
individual, which in turn encourages competition rather than collaboration. In order for a team to be successful, the environment needs to allow for it,
so it can be helpful to consider the factors that are preventing this from happening.
1. Strengths are not being utilised
Each member of a team has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. In order to make the most of these, a manager needs to be aware of them.
It is vital that you get to know each team member's abilities and tailor their role within the team to capitalise on strengths.
2. Overly dominant individuals
Team members can sometimes find themselves competing for tasks and recognition.
Personalities can range from extroverted and outgoing to introvert and reserved. There is no personality type that is "better" than another,
so it's vital that managers are able to create a balance where all members are able to contribute.
3. Lack of direction
A team may be working well with balanced personalities, but if a clear direction is lacking then the
otherwise successful team is not able to move forward. Sometimes employees are simply lacking a clear understanding of what is expected of them both as individuals
and as a team. Giving good direction also means developing a clear measure of success. That way all parties involved can track their progress and make required
4. Focus is on problems rather than solutions
In any project you can expect to stumble over certain hurdles
along the way. If, however, the problems you are trying to address become the sole focus, a team can quickly become demoralised. It is important that your management
style focuses on turning negatives into positives and seeing problems as an opportunity for success rather than a product of failure.
5. No trust
For any team to succeed, the members need to trust one another. Without trust, team members may be reluctant to make contributions, work to undermine one another
or simply not put in 100 per cent. Building trust is an ongoing task, so ensure it's a regular part of your team's development.
6. You are over-managing them
A manager's role is of course important. In order for a team to succeed, however,
it is important they are given the space and freedom to do so. Aim to lead and inspire your team rather than trying to control every aspect of a task. If your team
is underperforming, good delegation can not only give your team a chance to shine, it can also provide you with an opportunity to focus on other matters.
Finally, it is important to consider the way in which ideas and innovation are being received. If team members feel their ideas are constantly being rejected or
their contributions are not valued, they will eventually stop contributing altogether. It's important that creativity is fostered, so encourage growing your team's
ideas into solutions and consider taking some calculated risks .
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Nick Petrovic is a registered psychologist and head of clinic at the Mind Profile Psychology Clinic and has more than 10 years' experience in the allied health and business. Nick has contributed to regular columns in more than a dozen business magazines and newspapers, advising on issues such as mental health, work related stress, strategic planning, business analysis and human resources.