While this segment from the IT Crowd pokes fun at teams and teamwork it is a very real and important part of a good work environment. Not everyone will be able to do everything, and once you hire people you may find they don’t fit into the workplace like you imagined. A good leader however understands the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and rearranges groups to boost morale knowing that increases to productivity will follow. There is an endless list of pitfalls you can face when building teams, here are a sample of common problems and solutions.

  • Lack of Trust – this can be a lack of trust for management or team members and usually takes hold when people cannot relate to each other. As with many problems, increased communication with parts or the whole team is all that’s needed to resolve this.
  • Confusing Structure or Goals – you can have the best people for the job ready and willing to work, but they will likely become frustrated or disengage if they don’t know what they are working, how their results will be used/measured, and who they are reporting to. It’s best to discuss this before work begins since it can be difficult to re-energize a group that has become discouraged.
  • Poorly Run Meetings – meetings themselves are helpful but only when they are run correctly. The phrase, “lets schedule a meeting,” is often used to postpone a discussion instead of plan for the decision. This can be avoided by having even the most minimal objectives outlined for the meeting and adhering to a strict one-hour time limit. (Idea generation may take place in meetings, but it should be noted by the idea generator to be brought up outside of the meeting if it does not pertain directly to the goals and decisions that were agreed upon for the meeting.)
  • Fear of Conflict – company culture will have a significant impact here as a company. It is important to remind all employees that their opinions are valued and listened to. If you are not sincere about listening and taking their suggestions into consideration then they will be less likely to do this in the future and eventually you will have reinforced the notion that conflict is something to fear in the workplace.