At the end of most team meetings, we review the following questions, take notes on the responses and make changes as required:
- What did we do well?
- What would someone observing us notice during this meeting?
- How can we improve?
In a recent team meeting with a client, one manager asked, “Mike, the question of someone observing us always makes me anxious. As an outsider to our company, what do you notice when teams are having problems?”
I shared the following in no particular order:
9 team problems easily observable by outsiders
- Team members’ body language and reactions show they are not happy with how the team works. This unhappiness is observed in apathetic posture, biting sarcasm, and refusal to debate hot topics by looking down.
- A palpable sense of passive-aggressiveness showing outward support with inward frustration and rejection.
- Team members agree privately, outside the team meetings or work, about the team’s problems.
- Team members agree privately, outside the team meetings or work, on how to best cope with the team’s problems.
- Team members blame each other for the team’s current condition.
- The team silos into trusted friendship groups to share gossip, complaints, techniques to support their in-group, and strategies on the possible solutions or problems of the team.
- When the team is together (in meetings and public situations), team members do not accurately share their frustrations, successes, and challenges with others. Most often, they share the opposite of what they mean.
- Based on the shared inaccurate information, team members make a consensus that leads to the opposite of what they want to do. Therefore, increasing anger, frustration, annoyance, and dissatisfaction.
- Team members behave differently when outside the team environment. In other team situations, they are happier, get along better with others, and are more productive and innovative.