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.
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.”
“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