13 Feb The Most Common Pain Points Preventing Optimal Performance
Everyone is different, and every organization is unique.
But at Talent Suite, we’ve worked with enough companies, leaders and workers to identify dysfunction when we see it. And although every situation has its own individual challenges and dynamics, many come from the same root issues.
Based on our experience, here are the two main pain points that are the most common reasons leaders reach out to us for help:
1) Your team is not performing
It’s both the most simple problem and the most complex at the same time: “My team is underperforming.”
Just as there are a variety of different measurements, failed goals and lagging metrics that can lead to this conclusion, there are a variety of ways to tackle the problem, and a number of factors that influence team performance.
When we begin to delve deeper into a company’s issues, we regularly come across one or multiple of the following factors that are contributing to the dissatisfaction with performance:
- The leader’s expectations are unrealistic and inconsistent
To help a team live up to expectations, you first need to ensure that those expectations have been properly set and communicated.
We regularly encounter leaders who believe their teams are aware of their goals and expectations, only to find that their people have no real grasp on what’s expected of them.
That kind of communication — or lack thereof — can make or break the way an organization functions.
Too often, we see leaders who believe that setting unattainable goals, thinking they are stretch goals or they aren’t close enough to the actual work to know what is realistic to achieve.
Teams know when they’ve been set up to fall short, and failing to meet expectations is demoralizing, and if a leader is constantly setting unrealistic expectations, it can have a massive impact on morale and performance across the entire company.
Consistency is key, which is why a leader who is often resetting expectations and moving targets can cause major damage to the morale and, therefore, productivity of an office. Of course, sometimes it is unavoidable. But we find more often than not, this is not the case.
By establishing consistent, well-communicated expectations, a team can be on the same page, begin working toward the same goals and more easily step in when one of them needs support. Usually the leader has had some time to consider the change and doesn’t extend the same “courtesy” to the team, it can be more of a decide and announce type of change.
And when a change needs to occur ensuring you “slow down” to review the WHAT and WHY is needing to change.
- The team isn’t naturally aligned to the work the leaders wants them to do
If someone isn’t a good fit for the work they’re being asked to do, no amount of motivation, challenging or support is going to be a long-term fix for the problem.
At Talent Suite, we talk a lot about getting the right people in the right seats, and we talk about it often because it’s one of the most important things a leader does.
If members of your team aren’t being properly utilized or you don’t have line of sight where you are asking them to stretch to be successful, you’ll never get to the bottom of why performance is lagging. And often, without the right tools, it’s difficult to tell whether you have your team properly aligned in the first place.
- Team members aren’t collaborating and are operating in silos
Too often, we see teams drift apart, losing their collaboration and isolating among tasks, teams or even individuals.
A well-functioning team invites collaboration and promotes shared ownership of projects and tasks, using each other’s strengths to improve the work.
When you hear things like, “I’m not sure, that was their job,” it’s an easy sign of a team that isn’t firing on all cylinders.
2) There’s friction among your team
Members of your team can’t seem to get along. Your meetings aren’t productive. People don’t feel empowered to make decisions or take action without involving senior leadership. Colleagues are competitive with one another instead of pulling in the same direction.
We’ve all seen and been on teams that have these flaws, and it’s not always easy to root out the cause of the problem.
- Accidentally creating a competitive environment
It’s great for an entire team to be competitive with other organizations or about reaching their goals. It’s less great for a leader to create an environment where teammates are competing with one another rather than lifting each other. This creates a workplace where people think, “Whoever is first wins.”
Often, the leader in question doesn’t even realize they’ve promoted this kind of environment.
- The team doesn’t feel safe
In any organization, it’s critical for leaders to develop an environment where people feel psychologically safe to share problems, express concern and ask for help. If a team member isn’t able to be vulnerable with teammates and leaders, it indicates a lack of trust that resonates throughout an organization.
That lack of trust will manifest itself in a variety of ways, and will be extremely detrimental to company culture and productivity.
- Leaders say they want to make fewer decisions, but constantly find fault
Delegation of responsibilities is great. But if your delegation of tasks and projects is constantly followed by finding fault in the decisions of others, you haven’t empowered your team, you’ve simply created a frustrating extra step.
Often, leaders will express that they want to make fewer decisions, but when decisions get made by others, they’re the first to criticize. This creates an environment where no one wants to take ownership for fear of that criticism.
- Bias is dividing a team
In many corporate environments, a leader slips into playing favorites, leaning on team members who they find it easier to communicate with, who make decisions in a way that they identify with, or any number of other factors.
That favoritism creates a bias that the team can feel, and it helps to entrench the silos and cracks between coworkers.
Do any of these factors sound like you or your team? To varying degrees, these issues are present in many organizations and workplaces.
The key? Identifying them, accepting that there’s room for improvement and making a conscious effort to change.
If you see any of yourself or your organization in these scenarios, and want to proactively begin addressing the root causes, please reach out! We’d love to help.