Teamwork remains the one sustainable competitive advantage that has largely been untapped. However, the reality is despite so many articles and books on the topic, teamwork is rare. Most of today’s organisations contain underperforming and often dysfunctional teams.

Why is this?

Firstly, like most other buzzwords, the term ‘teamwork’ has been overused and has lost much of its meaning. Teamwork is not a given but a strategic choice organisations can make to optimise performance.

Secondly, the concept of teamwork is a contradiction. It’s a simple theory but putting it in practice is difficult, mostly due to human nature.

To overcome these issues, teams must be willing to invest time and energy to improve their teamwork. Functional teams make better decisions and can accomplish more in less time, with less distraction and frustration.

For any team to become functional it must overcome five common dysfunctions:

  1. Absence of trust
    Members of great team trust one another. They are comfortable sharing vulnerabilities, weaknesses, mistakes and fears with one another. They get to a point where they can be completely open with one another, without filters.
  2. Fear of conflict
    When team members trust each other they are not afraid to disagree with, challenge and question one another when it comes to dealing with issues and decisions critical to the team’s success.
  3. Lack of commitment
    If a team is able to manage conflict and openly discuss issues and challenges, it is better able to achieve consensus and commit to a course of action. All opinions and viewpoints are considered and discussed so that the team feels that every option has been explored.
  4. Avoidance of accountability
    When team members can commit to decisions they are more able to hold each other accountable when it comes to sticking to those decisions.
  5. Inattention to results
    If a team can achieve all of the above: trust one another, engage in conflict, commit to decisions and hold one another accountable, they are more likely to focus on what is best for the team. This includes setting aside their individual needs and agenda and focusing on the collective results that will effective team success.

If you are interested in how you can improve teamwork in your organisation, PeopleStart offers an interactive workshop for teams to help them build cohesion and collaboration based on the 5 dysfunctions of a team model.

Get in touch with us to find out how this valuable workshop can benefit your business. Learn more about our workshops and workplace training.