Following up on the 9 team problems easily observed by outsiders, I asked three client teams,
“What team problems would an outsider miss, and be more readily observable to insiders – people on the team?”
Here is the list we made, in no particular order.
7 team problems readily observable to insiders
- You feel uncertain, frustrated, powerless, and unable to endure when trying to solve a problem.
- You often meet with trusted colleagues over coffee or drinks, in remote locations, or in your office with the door shut and locked to discuss the problem, share in your frustrations, and plan fantasized solutions that you would attempt and change “if only the time and conditions were right.” (However, the time and conditions rarely are ever right.)
- You blame others – the manager, other divisions, “those people …” – For the current problems. The manager receives a different amount of blame and is described as “Out of touch,” “Lost all control,” “Has no vision,” or “They sure aren’t as good as so and so when dealing with problems like this.”
- In team meeting when the problem is discussed, you feel cautious, are less honest, and vague when talking about your ideas regarding the problem and solutions. You often try to determine others positions on the issue without revealing your own.
- You find that the problem-solving steps you take, both as a team member and as a team, fail to solve the problem and tend to make it worse.
- You frequently find yourself fantasizing about what you might have done or should have done: “When he said …, I wish I had said…”
- You look for ways to escape by taking sick leave or vacation time, traveling, or scheduling other “more important” meetings on days when the problem is going to be discussed.
When the team accepts and becomes aware of the outside observer and inside observer symptoms, is it possible to design a team-building process to create a difference that matters.