• genuine teamwork in most organizations remains as elusive as it has ever been.
  • organizations fail to achieve teamwork because they unknowingly fall prey to five natural but dangerous pitfalls

The Natural pitfalls

  1. absence of trust: unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group.
  2. fear of conflict: incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas. They resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments
  3. lack of commitment: team members rarely, if ever, buy in and commit to decisions, though they may feign aggrement during meetings.
  4. avoidance of accountability: hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.
  5. Inattention to results: team members put their needs above the collective goals of the team.

A questionnaire

____ 1. Team members are passionate and unguarded in their discussion of issues.
____ 2. Team members call out one another's deficiencies or unproductive behaviors.
____ 3. Team members know what their peers are working on and how they contribute to the collective good of the team.
____ 4. Team members quickly and genuinely apologize to one another when they say or do something inappropriate or possibly damaging to the team.
____ 5. Team members willingly make sacrifices (such as budget, turf, head count) in their departments or areas of expertise for the good of the team.
____ 6. Team members openly admit their weaknesses and mistakes.
____ 7. Team meetings are compelling, and not boring.
____ 8. Team members leave meetings confident that their peers are completely committed to the decisions that were agreed on, even if there was initial disagreement.
____ 9. Morale is significantly affected by the failure to achieve team goals.
____ 10. During team meetings, the most important—and difficult—issues are put on the table to be resolved.
____ 11. Team members are deeply concerned about the prospect of letting down their peers.
____ 12. Team members know about one another's personal lives and are comfortable discussing them.
____ 13. Team members end discussions with clear and specific resolutions and calls to action.
____ 14. Team members challenge one another about their plans and approaches.
____ 15. Team members are slow to seek credit for their own contributions, but quick to point out those of others.

Absence of Trust

  • Conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from one another
  • Hesitate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback
  • Hesitate to offer help outside their own areas of responsibility
  • Jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without attempting to clarify them
  • Fail to recognize and tap into one another’s skills and experiences
  • Waste time and energy managing their behaviors for effect Hold grudges
  • Dread meetings and find reasons to avoid spending time together

Suggestions for Overcoming

  • Personal Histories Exercies
  • Team Effectiveness Exercise
  • Personality and Behavioral Preference Profile
  • 360-Degree Feedback
  • Experiential Team Exercise

The Role of the leader

  • Demonstrate vulnerability first

Fear of Conflict

  • Have boring meetings
  • Create environments where back-channel politics and personal attacks thrive
  • Ignore controversial topics that are critical to team success
  • Fail to tap into all the opinions and perspectives of team members
  • Waste time and energy with posturing and interpersonal risk management

Suggestions for Overcoming

  • Mining
  • Real-Time Permission

The Role of the leader

  • demonstrate restraint when peers engage in conflict
  • personally model appropriate conflict behavior

Lack of Commitment

  • Creates ambiguity among the team about direction and priorities
  • Watches windows of opportunity close due to excessive analysis and unnecessary delay
  • Breeds lack of confidence and fear of failure
  • Revisits discussions and decisions again and again
  • Encourages second-guessing among team members

Suggestions for Overcoming

  • Cascading Messaging
  • Deadlines
  • Contingency and Worst-case Scenario Analysis
  • Low-Risk Exposure Therapy

The Role of the leader

  • confortably making decision that turns out to be run
  • push the group for closure around issues and adhereence to schedules
  • don’t place too high a premium on certainty or consensus

Avoidance of Accountability

  • Creates resentment among team members who have different standards of performance
  • Encourages mediocrity
  • Misses deadlines and key deliverables
  • Places an undue burden on the team leader as the sole source of discipline

Suggestions for Overcoming

  • Publication of Goals and Standards
  • Simple and Regular Progress Reviews
  • Team Rewards

The Role of the leader

  • allow the team to serve as the first the primary accountability
  • serve as the arbiter of discipline when the team failed

Inattention to Results

  • Stagnates/fails to grow
  • Rarely defeats competitor
  • Loses achievement-oriented employees
  • Encourages team members to focus on their own careers and individual goals
  • Is easily distracted

Suggestions for Overcoming

  • Public declaration of Results
  • Result-based Rewards

The Role of the leader

  • selfless and objective
  • reward for those who make real contributions