Over the years of working with individuals and teams, IGEOS has identified the major behaviors that undermine team effectiveness. Below are some of the most common pitfalls:
- Evaluation apprehension: The fear of being judged causes defensive and obscure communication as well as resistance to learning.
- Social loafing: Abdication of responsibility to “group leaders,” avoidance of accountability; “hiding incompetence,” letting others do the work.
- Playing Politics: Choosing personal power and influence over team effectiveness.
- Indulging in ambiguities: Avoiding needed exploration of the unknown or uncertain in favor of clinging to the familiar. Refusal to think or to act “out of the box.”
- Lip Service: Not taking one’s agreements seriously.
- Gross tolerance of miscommunication: Not listening attentively or respectfully to team members, not speaking with clarity, conciseness, and purpose, covering-up uncertainty and incompetence.
The above individual weaknesses result in the following team pitfalls:
- Polarization: Team members polarize on two opposite positions resulting in decision-making paralysis and/or the withdrawal from participation.
- Detrimental decision: The group agrees to a seriously detrimental course of action that individually none of the team members would have endorsed.
- Group Think: The group seeks consensus to maintain harmony at the expense of effective solutions.
- Fragmentation: When working in sub-teams, allegiance shifts to the sub-team with little or no awareness of overarching goals and impact on others.