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Team Effectiveness: ‘Blockages’ and How to Overcome Them

Posted by HRDQ on 12/18/2018 to Team Building
team effectiveness

Clear Roles, Goals, Procedures and Relationships are Key

Teamwork is important to nearly every organization. If a company wants to succeed, it needs to ensure the teams within it work well to meet goals and deliver results. Unfortunately, sometimes there are “blockages” to how a team succeeds. And if a team has multiple blockages it can fail, leading to issues in the organization as a whole.

There are five areas that should be acknowledged when working as a team, and five blockages to these areas that need to be broken through.

1. Mission, vision, and goals

The team should have a strong vision of the future and the organization should have a clearly defined and well-communicated mission statement and purpose. Plans are created as a team and work is managed against the goals or objectives. 

Blockages happen when there isn’t a clear vision of the future, and the organization or team has not taken the time to clearly define its purpose. Goals are unclear and there are no set plans. This uncertainty creates uneasiness in the workplace.

2. Team roles

Work should be organized to support the team’s goals, and each team member should have a clearly defined role. If everyone knows what their own responsibilities are, the team can function well and move smoothly through complex projects.

Blockages happen when the group structure is ambiguous and team members are confused about who does what. Responsibilities are divvied up at random and there is a lack of clear job descriptions. Deliverables may slip through the cracks as employees can’t determine who is responsible for what task.

3. Operating processes

Teams should be aware of the organization’s operating processes. Policies and procedures are used to manage the work or operations of the group, like problem solving, conflict management and decision making. 

Blockages happen when there is too much disorganization surrounding policies and procedures. They may have too many unproductive meetings or constant changes. Employees ignore rules and regulations and information is unclear. If there are no set processes, projects are likely to fail.

4. Interpersonal relationships

Team members needs to be able to work well with each other. Trust is key in a team where each person is responsible for both their own tasks and the achievement of the team as a whole.

Blockages happen when there are poor interpersonal relationships – teammates may be cautious and resistant to confiding in others, and they may not respond well to constructive feedback. Until all of the interpersonal relationship problems are resolved, it will be impossible for a group to work together to solve problems as an authentic team.

5. Inter-team relationships

Teams also need to work with other teams in an organization. Teams must work cooperatively and collaboratively in order for an organization to succeed. There are four variables at the root of cooperation between groups: time orientation, where depending on the nature of the work groups operate with different time frames; goal orientation, where different groups have different goals; interpersonal orientation, where some groups emphasize task-oriented styles while others have relationship-oriented styles; and internal formal structure, where some groups have more written policies, systems, and controls for performing their work.

Blockages happen when any of the above variables are mismatched. If teams have different deadlines or goals this can lead to issues. When teams are competitive or hostile it is a drain on the entire company and this often leads to serious failures

Overcome Blockages and Learn How to Improve Team Effectiveness

Overcoming the blockages above is key. If a team keeps its eye on goals, roles, relationships and procedures, it is likely to succeed. To learn how to further improve team effectiveness, attend HRDQ’s webinar “Team Effectiveness: What is it Anyway?” on Jan. 16 at 2 p.m. EST. Attendees will learn how to identify issues that block effectiveness, how to reduce or eliminate problems that can drain a group’s energy, and how to maximize the group’s productive efforts.

Register here: