Does your team affect your performance?

This week, we’re building on our previous post and focusing on some of the things to look out for which might affect your performance when working in teams:

  • Moody or moaning colleagues – There are numerous cases where the team’s happiness, productivity and even stress levels are deeply affected by one member’s mood. If that person is in a good mood, then all is well, but if they are in a bad mood it infects the whole team, especially if it is the manager who is moody!

Solution: This is a challenge. However, if you are in a strong, centred, happy place yourself it is much easier to remain unaffected by the other person’s mood.

  • The ‘Selfish Jean’ – The team member who, although they give the impression of being part of the team by remembering people’s birthdays, etc., are not really part of the team at all, as they are resistant to any changes or new ideas from other people. They are only interested in their own needs, hence the ‘selfish Jean’ title. Their game playing or sulking at any change means that other people are reluctant to challenge them.

Solution: As with some of the other scenarios discussed above, other team members need to be strong, communicate in an Adult to Adult way and be prepared to deal with any fall out in a constructive manner by not getting involved in game playing, in order to move the team forward.

  • Lack of vision or direction – Team members need to know both what they are doing and why they are doing it. Sometimes the bigger picture (especially in larger organisations) gets lost, which can impact on how well the team works together and with others in the organisation or business.

Solution: As a manager it is important to discuss with the team on a regular basis the direction or vision of the business or organisation, so people don’t lose sight of the big picture and get bogged down and demoralised by day to day issues.

  • Task versus process – When managers and team members are very busy, it is easy to become so task focused that you forget to treat each other as human beings.

Solution: Stop and ask yourself: when was the last time you asked someone how they are, what they did at the weekend, how a meeting went that they were worried about or simply said hello, please and thank you. It is those small actions which both build rapport and help people to feel acknowledged, rather than them feeling like just a cog in a machine.

How do you know if your team is working well together? In the meantime, think about the following points:

  • How much laughter is there in the team? You might be thinking ‘hang on a moment, they are here to do a job, what’s this about laughter?’ Laughter and humour are good measures of rapport in a team. Laughter also energises people and can relieve pressure and stress. See the above link for more on this.
  • Look at not just the team’s KPIs, but other measures – for example, levels of sickness, lateness, positive or negative feedback from clients, etc.
  • Do people take responsibility? This is in terms of being proactive, as well as being open and honest about mistakes they have made.
  • How much fire-fighting is happening? If you are a manager, are you fire-fighting, solving the team’s problems, or have you developed your team to solve their own problems, freeing you up to be more strategic in your role?
  • How much are people supporting each other? Do people naturally help each other out, listen to each other, and support each other’s ideas in meetings?

Improve your team’s performance

….with Team Development programmes from Leaders Lab