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Written by: Renée Safrata

Imagine pulling your top performing employees together, and locking them in the boardroom to take on an important task. How will they perform?

Is your first thought, these individuals are incredible on their own. Together, they’ll be even better and get the results we need.

Of course that’s what you’re thinking. It’s why you put them together in the first place.

Unfortunately, at VIVO Team our experience is quite the opposite. What we’ve come to realize is that leaders and managers have great difficulty in creating effective teams, it’s much harder than most think. And the more talented the individuals, the harder it gets.

That’s because there are key reasons why team dynamics can go sideways and kill productivity: poor communication, an inability to give valuable feedback, negative emotions, leadership gaps, lack of accountability, difficulty creating team cohesion not to mention, ineffective meetings.

As a business leader, you know why you need to be diligent about diagnosing team dynamics: a toxic environment can quickly kill productivity; and crush your bottom line – and no matter where the problem lies, you’re ultimately responsible for it.

But if you focus just on individual performance to try and improve the situation, you lose an incredible opportunity to leverage the results that come from building engaged, healthy and productive teams.

Spot symptoms and take action!

Teams break down in one of two ways.

The first is slow, symptomatic breakdown over time. Like a rotting wood floor, it can appear to be in good shape – but collapses the moment any weight is put on it.

Or teams fall apart rapidly, when a crisis hits. In this case, trouble strikes like a tornado tearing everything apart.

· Lack of Role Clarity: Tasks are slipping through the cracks because no one knows who is responsible for what and by when.

·Brewing Conflict: Employees are competing instead of cooperating. Progress is stifled by disagreement, aggression or an inability to resolve conflicts.

·Everybody’s Talking - who’s actually listening?: Individuals are not sharing their knowledge and information, leading to silos and turf wars.

·People are Fried: Over-burdened with ever-increasing workloads, employees are working less effectively and taking longer to get the work done.

·Deadlines are Slipping: Project plans and timelines are falling by the wayside as projects get farther behind schedule and off-track.

·Talent is walking out the door: Valuable employees are walking out the door, frustrated by the problems that plague their team and their inability to achieve their goals.

·It’s Up To You To Get Your Team Back On Track: A company is, by definition, a team made up of a bunch of smaller teams. Every employee should be working toward a common goal to achieve success for the business.

At least that’s what you hope.

If you’ve hired the right people, communicated your company’s vision and annual strategic objectives effectively, your team will help you reach your end goal while achieving their own objectives at the same time.

But what if everyone is trying to get there via different routes? What if they are motivated to work together but are failing miserably?

Some might be taking shortcuts. Others might be taking the scenic route and getting lost along the way. Some might be stuck arguing about what direction to take, while others take off on their own leaving their teammates behind.

Teams Need Direction From Their Leaders:

1.     To help determine the route they take, and

2.     To help them communicate and collaborate effectively throughout the journey. Employees look to company leaders to guide them to their destination.

3.     In healthy organizations employees are engaged in their work, collaborating with each other, serving customers effectively and finishing projects on time, while leaders are giving clear direction and modeling commitment to the goals.

As a business leader, you rely on your team to achieve specific results. If your team is all over the map, it’s up to you to get them back on track.

First step, come to VIVO’s Talk on “How Great Leaders Build Productive Teams” to gain an understanding of the six key indicators of highly functioning teams at the CPHR Alberta 2017 Conference!

Renée has worked with over 250 companies and 2000 business executives throughout North America, helping them connect and adopt new behaviours to become confident members of highly functioning teams and leaders.

Renée willl be speaking at the CPHR Alberta 2017 Conference this April 26 & 27 in Edmonton.  For more information on the conference and to register, click here.