Teams are made of people, but you know that right? Sometimes people just don’t get along and I guess you probably know that too. It isn’t always an explosive or an obvious personality clash that can be the problem. Sometimes the difficulties in a team are covert, and it is easy to dismiss or assume it will go away.

Whatever the dysfunction, real problems arise if they aren’t dealt with and this has serious consequences for the business. In addition to people becoming frustrated, disengaged and demotivated, project success and the bottom line ultimately take a hit. No matter how trivial it may seem, if the dynamics aren’t working, they need attention. Sooner or later dealing with it will become unavoidable. When you get to this point the damage has already been done and it is much more difficult to recover from.

Tackling team dysfunction is simple to deal with but is avoided in so many cases. So why are leaders and their team members avoiding dealing with the elephant in the room despite it damaging their success? Let’s look at how to fix a team that isn’t working well.

Name the elephant in the room
You need to create a safe space where the whole team can share their views. Actively listen to the problems that arise and create action points to address them. When your team sees a positive change happening after having a conversation that counts; they will become more willing to make changes to the way they work too.

Get out of your own way

Tackling team dysfunction is simple to deal with but is avoided in so many cases. Why are leaders and their team members avoiding obvious problems? In my experience, the most common reason for not engaging in conversations that call out the more challenging dynamics in a team is the fear of causing upset. People are scared of creating a scene and will tolerate a number of irritating, unhelpful, and sometimes destructive behaviours instead. Many teams often cite being open and honest as one of their top values. Using emotional intelligence to respond to issues will help. Here are some tips on how to do it.

·     Respond instead of reacting to a situation. This way everyone in the team can get their opinion and problems heard without fear of recrimination.
·     Maintain a positive attitude. Negativity breeds bad vibes. If you deal with your team with positive regard, they will reflect this back to you and the rest of the team.
·     Take criticism well. If you get some negative feedback make sure you respond to it positively and take it on board.

Creating an environment where conversations count is vital. If developing emotional intelligence and active listening are prioritised they will transform the way you and your team work. If you want some more tips about team collaboration, please download my free guide.

If you want to know more about  1:1 coaching or my transformative team programmes, please email

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