We are our teams

We’ve all probably come across teams which have some of the following characteristics – toxic bickering, tribal behaviours (I win you lose), bad working atmosphere, poor performance and team members feeling managers are not dealing with these problems.

Normally this isn’t a life or death situation, unless you happen to be the cardiac surgery unit at a major hospital. As reported last week St. Georges hospital in London found all of these problems in their cardiac surgery team. Why did it undertake a review – because deaths were higher than expected.

This is a scary real world reminder that when teams are dis-functional they under perform at the cost of clients/patients and the organisation they work for. Why do they under perform? In my experience here are the most common:-

  • Always looking at their ‘enemies’ in the team and not focusing on doing the job right
  • A difficult atmosphere only adds to the stresses encountered in their roles
  • Poor communication because anything I say can be taken wrongly or misconstrued
  • Afraid to have a difficult conversations because my motives will be questioned
  • Junior team member are scared to speak up about problems and learning is inhibited

All of these are focused away from the job in hand whether that is serving a customer in retail or performing open heart surgery. They take away my ability to deploy my full expertise.

How can we address this challenge? I think there are a number of steps that are critical in dealing with dis-functional teams :-

  1. Recognise that technical expertise is only one part of overall performance
  2. Prioritise team development separately from technical or clinical excellence
  3. Tackle challenging issues irrespective of where they come from (this is often most difficult when its the perceived high status high performer)
  4. Developing leadership awareness and support for building teamwork across their organisations

If you are interested in finding out how my team coaching programme can help you improve your teams, then contact me today at info@canningsheridan.com or via the enquiry form below.

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