7 Signs of a Dysfunctional Team

Chances are, if you’ve served on very many teams, that you’ve served on one that is dysfunctional. It appears to me that we have many to choose from in the organizational world. 🙂 A dysfunctional team in simple terms is one that cannot operate at peak efficiency and performance because of a combination of negative characteristics.

If you have been on a dysfunctional team, then you’ve probably seen one or more of of the common traits found among a dysfunctional team. They do have commonalities.

Here are 7 signs of a dysfunctional team:

Team members don’t talk to each other…as much as they talk about each other…

Problems are never addressed; conflict is avoided…the real issues are continually ignored or excused…

No one takes responsibility…and everyone passes blame…

Communication usually brings more tension than progress…and no one is truly honest with each other…

The mention of change makes everyone nervous…and real progress has to be forced or controlled…

Only the leader gets recognition or can make decisions…and team members never feel valued or appreciated…

There are competing visions, goals or objectives….and it’s every team member for his or herself…

Have you served on a dysfunctional team?

(How many of these can you currently see on your team? If there are at least two or three and I’d say you may need to evaluate the team’s health…)

What other signs would you add to my list?

A Huge Thought from: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

I’m reading John Maxwell’s book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently”. I’m three-fourths finished and I’ve been reminded and learned some great stuff so far, but one thing hit me huge today. I see so much truth here from personal experience.

Maxwell claims, “Connectors live what they communicate”. The people who learn to connect with others best live the life they talk about when they communicate. Then Maxwell writes:

Credibility! Here’s how this works in any kind of relationship:

The first six months – communication overrides credibility.

After six months – credibility overrides communication. 

Then he closes that thought by writing, “Credibility is currency for leaders and communicators. With it, they are solvent; without it, they are bankrupt.” 

Wow! I love that! It’s so true. In the beginning of a relationship, you hang on what people say, but as the relationship matures, it doesn’t matter as much what they say…it matters what they do.

Do you see “credibility” and application here? 

Simplified 7-Step Roadmap to Success

In an organizational sense…

Here is a 7 step roadmap to success for a team:

Have a big God-given dream…

Get a clear vision of what success would look like…

Organize a great team…

Formulate a strategic plan of action steps to create a win…

Assign specific tasks to everyone on the team…

Keep pushing forward, even during difficult days, encouraging one another…

Celebrate along the way…

Have you served on a successful team? 

Are You a Leader or Manager?

Are you a leader or a manager?

Every organization needs both, so don’t be ashamed to answer either way, but it’s important that you know the difference, which one you do best, and then try to arrange your career where you can realize your best potential.

In the book “Reviewing Leadership”, the authors Banks and Ledbetter write, “Leadership and management are two distinct yet related systems of action….They are similar in that each involves influence as a way to move ideas forward, and both involve working with people. Both are also concerned with end results. Yet the overriding functions of leadership and management are distinct. Management is about coping with complexity – it is responsive. Leadership is about coping with change – it too is responsive, but mostly it is proactive. More chaos demands more management, and more change always demands more leadership. In general, the purpose of management is to provide order and consistency to organizations, while the primary function of leadershp is to produce change and movement.”

I think that’s a great summary of the differences between leadership and management for organizations and individuals to consider. Too many times we ask good managers to be great leaders or good leaders to be great managers. The problem with being in the wrong fit is that we tend to burn out more quickly when we are not able to live out our giftedness. In addition, we frustrate the people we are supposed to be leading or managing and ultimately we keep the organization from being the best it can be.

Do a self-evaluation of which you are more skilled at doing. Are you a better leader or a better manager?

Don’t try to be someone you are not.

Through experience I’ve learned I identify with one of these roles more than the other. One description fires me up…the other bums me out. (Can you guess which one fires me up?) One comes more naturally for me and the other I struggle to learn…and attempt to delegate when possible.

What about you? Are you in your proper fit? Do you see the difference?

You might also read:

Don’t Be Afraid of Good Management

One Contrast Between a Leader and a Manager

(This is a revised post)

20 Words Associated with Leadership

Here are twenty random words associated with leadership…

  • Purpose
  • Integrity
  • Values
  • Strategy
  • Principles
  • Humility
  • Passion
  • Delegation
  • Empowerment
  • Sincerity
  • Risk
  • Confidence
  • Commitment
  • Wisdom
  • People
  • Honesty
  • Compassion
  • Sensitivity
  • Determination
  • Courage

Plus yours…

What would you add to my list?

Bonus round:

If you had to choose only 5 as being most important…

Which would you choose?

The Leader’s Private Life

The leader’s private life…

The leader’s marriage…

The leader’s family life…

The leader’s physical health…

The leader’s emotional health…

The leader’s spiritual health…

Impacts the leader…which naturally impacts the people he or she leads…

The leader’s private life matters to the health of the team…

You may want to read THIS POST next.

Leader, how is your private life impacting the people or organization you lead?

Not sure…ask them…

I always tell the teams I lead…and remind myself…

We must get better to get bigger…

(BTW, I help “brave” leaders do this…read more HERE.)

In a Church Plant…Hire Generalists not Specialists

In a church plant, no one can be a specialist.

In the early days of Grace Community Church, I did many things I wasn’t necessarily trained or qualified to do. That was even truer in my first church plant, which started smaller, but I suspect it’s true of every church plant. This has been the case for all of our staff. They’ve had to fill roles not assigned to their specific job description.

Specialist concentrate on what they do best.

Generalist, while they may have a specific job title, handle multiple tasks; some better than others.

At Grace, we’ve hired people for specific jobs, but we’ve had to ask everyone to do tasks which weren’t necessarily in their “job description”.

  • Our groups pastor helped launch our second campus.
  • Our family pastor helps with worship planning.
  • Our worship pastor helps with our website.

As the church grows, you may hire more specialists, but honestly, we are living in a day where generalists are more needed than ever. To me, someone’s value to the team increases the more tasks he or she can complete, or they are willing to try.

If you are looking to add to your church staff…consider those who can and are willing to handle multiple roles.

Have you had to handle multiple tasks in your position?

Do you see a change to more generalist or more specialist roles in churches today?

How I Blog about Current Leadership Problems

Let me bring you in on a little secret. All those leadership posts I do…I don’t make them up…

Most of them come from real life situations…either mine or yours…

The one about 9 Bad Boss Types

Yea, I’ve either had them, been them or seen them or heard of them through readers like you…

The one about 10 Types of Good Leadership

The one about Controlling Leadership

The one about Ways to Lead People Older than You

Yea…all me…or you…

I get asked frequently, “How do you post about people you know? Don’t they figure out you’re talking about them?”

Well, truthfully, sometimes they ask, “Is that post about me?” The reality is, however, that every situation seems to repeat itself. Many of my situations from which I draw principles come from readers of this blog sharing their stories with me. I get lots of them. Some come from other churches with whom I’ve worked. Many of the situations from which I develop leadership principles happened years ago when I was in secular business and management. Sometimes the details are cloudy, but the principles are still quite clear.

I do have a system (informal that is), however, of how I post about current leadership issues, especially those real life to me, where I know the people involved.

Here is my system:

I wait until some time has passed – The principles learned will still be good. It could be a month or a year, depending on how easy to discern the details would be. (I keep my notes in Evernote) I also try to remove emotions before I post about a situation. I’ve been burned a few times (and burned others) by posting in anger, so I’ve learned to never post until I’m back on even ground emotionally.

I consider all parties involved – I want to make sure I’m telling the story correctly. I try to capture the facts as they happened, not as someone felt as they were happening. If it’s a personal issue for me, I never share any situation I wouldn’t be comfortable discussing with the people involved. I especially don’t want people I lead feeling slammed through my blog, so I make sure I address leadership problems I have outside this blog. I frequently mention upcoming posts so they know in advance I’m writing about a certain topic.

I examine what was learned – I always want to learn from experiences; good or bad, so I ask myself how the teams involved are better and how things could improve because of this situation. I try never to post out of personal frustration, but I do try to share that which can benefit others from my experience or the experience of others.

I change details – I never share names, unless I have permission and it’s necessary for the story. I change enough details to keep people guessing as to the characters in the situation.

I post – Eventually I use the story or situation to write about a leadership problem or principle. My theory is that all leadership principles develop somewhere. Some of them may as well be with me…or you.

Have you ever posted in anger or had someone question if you were writing about them in your post?

Where have you learned your best leadership principle?

If I’m Your Leader…It’s Your Business…

“This is probably none of my business, but…”

Do you ever hear that as a leader?

Recently one of our staff had a question for me. He had observed that Cheryl and I sold our house and bought a condo downtown. He wondered if there was some hidden motive; like I was preparing to travel more, or perhaps become a full-time consultant and maybe even leave my role as pastor. (Evidently he doesn’t read my blog. I explained the move HERE 🙂 )

So, he bridged the conversation by stating, “This is probably none of my business, but can I ask you a question?”

It could have been other issues…

  • You seem distracted…is something wrong?
  • You look tired…are you feeling well?
  • I saw you without Cheryl…are you guys okay?
  • We haven’t spoken lately…are you mad at me?
  • I don’t understand that decision you made…what were you thinking?

Chances are…if you are a leader…you’ve had people think things like this before…

Some will ask…some may not…

If they do, they may start with, “I know this is none of my business, but…”

Here’s my take on that…

I don’t get upset when someone asks me a personal question…

In fact, I welcome them…

Why?

If I’m your leader…it’s your business…

Some things may not be the average church member’s business…

Or a reader of this blog 🙂

But if you look to me for leadership…

Then it’s your business…

Why?

Because I believe strongly that the health of the leader affects the health of the team… ***

I also think that trust in a leader is paramount to the health of the organization…

If the leader wants respect, he or she needs to be clearly understood…

So…

If I’m your leader…it’s your business…

Feel free to disagree with me, but do you think the health of someone leading you is your personal business?

***Read THIS POST and THIS POST for a further explanation of this principle.

Leaders Lead…So Others Can Follow

Leaders lead so that others can follow…

You’ll see it among organizations everywhere…

The team is no more intentional than the leader…

The team gives up when the leader gives up…

The team works no harder than the leader…

The team slacks off when the leader slacks off…

The team takes no greater risks than the leader is willing to take…

The team believes the vision no more passionately than the leader…

The team becomes negative when the leader becomes negative…

If you want others to follow your leadership, give them an example worth following…

Leaders lead so that others can follow…

What other examples of a leader’s impact on a team come to mind?