3 Signs Your Team is Malfunctioning

You have to identify the malfunction. Determine what it costs to fix it? And do everything you can in your power to get your team into top notch performance again.

The check engine light pops on in your automobile and you look in your handbook to find out you need to take your car to the dealership to have a million dollars worth of work done to it.  Your vehicle has many different components that have different functions but all work simultaneously to allow for a smooth ride and safe travels.  When one of those components malfunction, it sets off the check engine light indicating that something is wrong with the car.

This is exactly how teams work.  Everyone has different functions, but every member works together to create a high functioning unit.  When one of the members gets out of wack, we have a malfunction within the group, and the team suffers for it.  Not only the team, but every individual or company that the team directly affects.

I want to give you 3 signs that your team is malfunctioning.

1.) Leadership is Dysfunctional  

Have you ever known a team whose weakest link was the leader?  The team is determined, they have skills, they have passion, but they have no direction and instruction.

There have been ball players that were amazing at playing the game, but when they retired and tried their hand at coaching, their teams suffered and never succeeded.  Why?  Because they were good ball players and captains, but they lacked leadership skills and the ability to facilitate their players to the playoffs or championships.

We hear about people that have the money to purchase a business, hire employees, and even do some type of marketing.  But the business goes under or suffers for years. Why?  Because the leadership is toxic and lacks the leadership skills to meet the needs of their people or customers.

It’s not difficult to find signs of leadership dysfunction in most organizations – all you have to do is open your eyes.

-Mike Myatt

Here are four signs of a dysfunctional leader:

  • They seek ultimate control vs. liberating their employees
  • They are always negative vs. being inspiring
  • Always threatening vs. being instructing
  • They take up petty issues vs. being constructive

To build dynamic teams and keep them running smoothly and efficiently, quality leadership is a must.  It’s imperative that we leaders reclaim the spirit of true leadership and seek to guide and coach our teams to be well running machines.  If the leadership malfunctions, the rest of the vehicle doesn’t run right.

2.)  The Atmosphere is Toxic

Once again the leadership is a catalyst for setting the right atmosphere.  If the atmosphere is toxic your team will suffer.  How many of you have been apart of a team that suffocated from an environment that choked the life out of your group?

Automobiles can create an atmosphere full of smog and pollution.  That is why they have components on the car that recycle exhaust, and maintenance that cleans out the carbon build up.  When the proper maintenance is done to a vehicle the Malfunction Indicator Lamp illuminates indicating an issue with various parts.

To have the right atmosphere we must have constant maintenance and the right components in place to absorb the bad pollution.  For example:

  • Encourage unity instead of gossip and bad attitudes
  • Reward for good behavior and meeting goals instead of nit picking every little mistake
  • MICROMANAGING pollutes the atmosphere
  • Shut down clicks and always work on team building
  • Developing clear cut boundaries and rules instead of setting unrealistic and unclear expectations 

I am sure their are many more thoughts and maybe you can comment on some ideas that you have.  But I know this for sure, there are things we can do to clear up the atmosphere that allows our teams to perform at the maximum level.

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

-Ken Blanchard

“As long as I have this one person, my business, my team will be A-OK!”  Only problem with this attitude is when you take out that one person your team suffers.  But a good environment that fosters teamwork will bring everyone to the same level of efficiency and the team will succeed no matter what’s thrown at them.

3.  Leaders Fail to Produce Leaders

Notice a common thread here?  Leaders fail!  Leaders, please take responsibility for your team, no matter if it’s at work, at home, on the field, or at church.

We as leaders face a daunting task, and that is to create leaders around us.  Your organization will only rise as your team rises.  If you do not want your team to be dysfunctional, then the best way to remedy this is to create a ladder for everyone to get on so they can go up.

Creating a tight group of people and fostering growth will develop a foundation for future leaders.

Training, training, training is everything.  Knowledge is power.  Giving them the information that they need to succeed will determine the type of leader they will be.  Technical skills, people skills, and personal development training would be a great start to growing leaders.

Goal setting and projecting.  Maintaining a strict goal program.  Cast the vision and maintain steps to meeting these goals.  People get bored and anxious when they just have a job to do.  They want purpose and they want to make a difference.

Give individual team members responsibilities.  Allow them to make decisions and coach them along the way.  Allow for failure and mistakes.  Remember, THEY ARE NOT PERFECT!

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

― William Arthur Ward

Determining to take your team to the next level demonstrates the type of leader you are.  Making a difference in their lives, and helping them grow the leader within them should be your ultimate goal.  By doing this you reduce stress, create great customer interactions, the loyalty and morality will rise.  They will care about the business not just a paycheck.  They will care about the team and the family versus their own good.  It has always and will always be about others.


Is your check engine light on in your team?  Is there a malfunction and dysfunction somewhere?

You have to identify the malfunction.  Determine what it costs to fix it?  And do everything you can in your power to get your team into top notch performance again.  Do not let your team become dysfunctional, and if you inherited that kind of team, take the challenge and grow with them!

Dustin L. Carr





Pink Cadillacs and Lipstick

I love reading about others that have succeeded in many different was. I don’t focus on monetary success, but rather succeeding at success.

I read an interesting article from the book, Thinking For a Change, by John C. Maxwell that I would love to share with you in my own words.  It’s about a lady named Karen Ford, who in the mid 1980’s, was a high school teacher who had an unexpected bump on the road of her life.  Her second child was born with a heart condition that required her to stay home with him each and everyday to help maintain his medicines and quality of life.  She found a company where she could supplement her income and began immediately working with Mary Kay, hoping to bring home $50 dollars per week to make up for her lost wages.

Ford became very successful in her new found career and began to build one of the biggest empires in the Mary Kay company in her day.  She was bringing in over 650,000 buckaroos each year.  Being a beauty consultant was becoming lucrative in many different ways for her. Allow me to give you a few take aways from this article that added inspiration to my life as a leader.

She Found Something She Loved Doing

In 1987, when she decided to go to work for Mary Kay, she found so much more than a 8-4 everyday mundane job to drag her through each and every week.  Ford found a calling, something she loved and enjoyed doing.  She uncovered a strength of hers to sell and connect with people.  So she leveraged that to her benefit, and lit the industry on fire with her smarts and enthusiasm.

Too many people feel they are stuck in a position that they do not feel passionate about.  A college major, career choice, or a relationship they are in, weighs on them like a ton of bricks.

If we are going to be the leaders that we need to be, we need to discover the passion in what we do.  Here’s three things that I will mention shortly to help you do that:

  1.  Remember why you started this career and list all of the positive items that drove you in that direction.
  2. Read inspirational books and quotes that will ignite a fire in your soul, and cultivate that flame as well.  I personally love to watch YouTube videos that give me knowledge about leadership, salesmanship, managing.  My favorite authors are John C. Maxwell, Jeffrey Gitomer, Zig Ziglar, and any biography of great leaders, in any industry.
  3. Maintain a close relationship with like minded individuals that challenge you, inspire you and help you broaden your scope, cause the roots of your life to dig deep, help maintain a vertical growth, and develop branches to benefit those around you.

If you are not excited, guess what?  Neither will those people around you be! -Dustin L. Carr

She Devoted Her Life to Others

Karen made Mary Kay’s motto very personal, “In business for yourself, but not by yourself.”  She began recruiting women to join the illustrious business and began building a mammoth like company.  Karen didn’t recruit people, but rather she empowered women to devote their life to a cause.

No doubt, Karen Ford ascribed to the very foundation of Mary Kay,  “God first, family second, and career third.” Only when a person is able to keep life into perspective, can we help others and prevent burnout.  But once she built a foundation and had her priorities set, Karen began to develop a powerhouse around her and inspire generations to come.

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar

Karen wasn’t just a leader, she was a leader of leaders.  She developed consultants around her to be driven, knowledgeable, and successful.  She didn’t hold them back and tie them down as if they were competition, but rather she gave them the “know-how” and inspiration, then unleashed them to blaze a trail and build an empire.

She Learned From Failure

Karen had scaled to the highest pinnacle of the company, so she thought.  She wanted to attain the greatest honor within the company by earning the most coveted position, that of a National Sales Director.  In 1995, however, to her dismay she was stopped in her tracks of moving forward and the breath knocked out of her.  According to the article in John C. Maxwell’s book, the reason for this disappointment was because, “she had gathered a bunch of followers who simply were trying to carry out her dreams and goals, not leaders who could achieve on their own and rally others to succeed.” (1)

In my opinion it wasn’t the money that drove her, or she would have been satisfied with a cool $650K a year.  She wanted more than that, she wanted to rise to the top.  This devastating news crushed her and caused her to almost quit what she loved doing.  You remember that old adage, “Quitters never win, and winners never quit!”  Karen dove into her books and engulfed every known piece of material she could to enlarge her mind and inspire her to change her mentality.  She didn’t quit, she didn’t lay down, she worked tirelessly to succeed and in 1998 she herd the phone ring, and on the other in was some of the sweetest words she had ever heard.  She became a National Sales Director with Mary Kay.

I’m reminded so many times that right before success can come the greatest failure.  Don’t give up, have courage, develop yourself and those around you.  Succeed as a leader in all that you do!  Change yourself and adjust if you need to, work on your weaknesses, and major on your strengths.  NEVER SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY!

-Dustin L. Carr

(1.) excerpt from Thinking For a Change, Author John C. Maxwell, pg. 23