Incentivizing your employees to feel free to give feedback and challenge ideas doesn’t just happen.
Many long-standing organizations such as Kodak, Sears, and Borders have failed to adapt to the reality of today’s world and have found themselves becoming irrelevant.
One of the reasons is that the leaders did not receive valuable information that may have helped the organization turn around.
Many leaders find themselves in a vacuum, unwilling to receive or seek information crucial to the health of their organization.
In today’s highly competitive, fast-moving environment, businesses need to have everyone, and their ideas, on board. It is crucial to develop an environment that promotes and encourages constant feedback and to challenge ideas at all levels.
According to Vip Sandhir, CEO and founder of High Ground, creating a challenge culture is key to employee engagement and an organization’s growth and future.
'The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni digs deep into five interrelated issues that undermine the performance of a team all in some way. So here are the 5 dysfunctions of a team and ways we recommend to counter them.
● Issue 1: Absence of Trust. Without trust, teams cannot be completely honest with each other.
Solution: Confidence and building a team bond. Honesty, openness, and respect are key communication attributes of a successful culture, specifically in building trust. A culture of trust can do remarkable things for an organization.
People who trust each other are more productive, feel a higher degree of loyalty to their team and organization, and are also known to give outstanding service.
What does trust look like in a workplace?
- Confidence. If you are a person your colleagues or clients can trust, that means they have confidence in you. Confidence to:
- Make decisions or work autonomously
- Move up or take on more responsibilities
- Be authentic
- Have their back!
Developing trust and comfort is all about teams working together intelligently to achieve better results, reduce individual stress and create a successful culture that promotes customer loyalty. It’s where teams build collaborative relationships, communicate openly, and identify strategies for moving forward, quickly and easily, as a cohesive unit to its full potential.
It’s built through a process of establishing good habits in effective communication at all levels.
● Issue 2: Fear of Conflict. Without trust, teams cannot have the healthy debate that is necessary to arrive at better understanding and decisions.
Solution: Feedback and strengthening your team performance helps facilitate a safe environment for authentic conversation that has space for safe conflict.
Feedback in dysfunctional organizations comes across as confrontational, feedback in organizations with successful cultures is regular, informal, constructive, and safe.
Safety is a fundamental human need. Your team needs to know where they stand over the short and long term. One of the best ways a team leader can do this is to provide regular feedback on performance and clarify goals, especially during times of change. The trouble with feedback is that it is often heard as criticism which could counter the feeling of safety.
Start incorporating a culture where feedback is welcomed and acknowledged for the powerful fuel it is for breakthroughs in growth and development. Set up the right environment for casual, non-confrontational feedback.
● Issue 3: Lack of Commitment. If a team is not aligned with a decision, then it can naturally be difficult for everyone to be behind and committed to that decision.
Solution: Not everyone in the team is going to agree all the time, and nor should they but they do all need space for healthy debate. A safe space where they can say “convince me” if they need to.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shared his "disagree and commit" approach to healthy debate within teams in this Inc article. ‘to "disagree and commit" doesn't mean "thinking your team is wrong and missing the point," which will prevent you from offering true support. Rather, it's a genuine, sincere commitment to go the team's way, even if you disagree.
Of course, before you reach that stage, you should be able to explain your position, and the team should reasonably weigh your concerns. But if you decide to disagree and commit, you're all in. No sabotaging the project, directly or indirectly. By trusting your team's gut, you give them room to experiment and grow, and your people gain confidence.
Having defined the right core values for your business and your team is also one of the best ways to keep your team on track and working toward commitment and your ultimate goals.
● Issue 4: Avoidance of accountability. If they are not committed to the course of action, then they are less likely to feel accountable (or hold other people accountable).
Solution: Follow these 5 accountability actions:
- Giving up excuses.
- Giving up blame.
- Seeking Solutions.
- Doing something. Anything!
- Keeping score on yourself.
There are many roads to success, whatever form you hope that success to be, but the one action common for every single successful person, team, or organization is accountability.
Where someone has not held themselves accountable, and the other team members can call out less than optimal behaviors, actions, or a ‘dropping of the ball’; then you have true team accountability.
● Issue 5: Inattention to results. This, according to the book, is considered the ultimate dysfunction of a team and refers to the tendency of team members to care about something other than the collective goal.
Solution: Be inspired as a team, by your team’s mission. Being a mission-driven team will allow you and your team to bond and work together at greater levels of impact in order to achieve a common goal (your mission) together, allowing your bond as a team to strengthen.
Let’s look at the value of a straight question like: Why do we come to work?
Most people when asked ‘why do you come to work?’ Will first answer “money.” But that's not the real reason why. That is not the motivation for getting up at 6:30 in the morning, rushing around, organizing kids, or ironing shirts the night before. It's because of the kids, or the house deposit they are saving for, or the next mission to help in a developing country. That's the “why.” Every person has a “why.”
That's the reason why they get out of bed every morning. And when a team is engaged in each other’s why, they then understand why they should help each other. There’s an understanding of what their teammate is working towards.
According to Ambition In Motion’s Work Orientation, some people are motivated by work/life balance, some people are motivated by growth and learning new skills, and some people are motivated by having a positive impact on the world. You can learn your Work Orientation here.
At its highest level, this is understanding each other's “why” and helping each other achieve individual goals together. Championing each other to be the best and to have the best.
When team members know why and what they are each striving for personally, and from an organizational view, they will be focused on the right results. Each person will not be focused only on their own goals; they will be working to help their colleagues meet theirs too.
How can the 5 Dysfunctions of a team help you?
If your team is struggling, start breaking down the issues. Take a look at the 5 dysfunctions of a team to see if you recognize anything. Then get to work on understanding what's happening for the team personally and professionally.
If you are seeking help with implementing the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team with your executive team, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to see how Ambition In Motion can help your executive team implement the methodologies taught in the book.