Team dynamics are complicated! Have you ever experienced a dysfunctional team or family business? Do you consider your business team as family?

Question: What are some of the signs of a dysfunctional team?

·         Employees are disengaged

·         There is a lack of, or negative communication between team members

·         Team members hold back rather than engage in constructive conflict

·         Team members don’t assume accountability and blame others

·         There is a lack of clarity within the team

·         The environment is tension filled and the team fears change

Question:   What is the difference between a team and a family; what about a family business team?

A chance meeting with a famous sports figure helped me to better understand this important distinction.

Years ago I met Jack Clark, the Nation’s Top College Champion Cal Rugby Coach, who led Cal to 22 Championships. I asked Jack what he attributed the success of his team year after year and what lessons could be applied to business teams. One of the things he shared was that “many businesses consider themselves to be a family, yet most families are dysfunctional.” More than a family he fosters a highly-functioning team where everyone knows exactly what role they play in their team’s success and is held accountable.  A good place to start would be to ask whether there are clearly defined roles and responsibilities and whether team members are held accountable on your team.

Question:  Are there any differences to consider between existing teams, newly formed teams and blended teams?

All teams, existing or not, can become dysfunctional and there are special considerations for each. Newly formed teams with healthy practices in place can set the tone for maintaining a high functioning team culture. Existing teams may have already formed unhealthy team dynamics which fortunately CAN be changed. Blending teams requires careful consideration towards establishing trust and integrating everyone into a cohesive team culture.

Question:  What are 3 Secrets to Thriving and working within a dysfunctional team?

·         Assess and understand your team. This includes everyone’s strengths, communication styles and motivators.

·         Leaders should become more closely connected to their employees, build strong team interaction and foster an environment of trust and accountability. If you are not a leader, find a way to get your leader to commit to addressing this.

·         Ensure Clarity. Have a clear plan or focus along with constant communication. Is the team aware of and aligned with the organization/dept. goals etc? Are they consistently communicated and reinforced?

Question:  Can team behavior be changed?

Yes. All companies- and all families for that matter –have some dysfunction. With a commitment to, and recognition of the strategic value of strong teams, and the interpersonal connections required to maintain them, behaviors can shift and teams can become highly functional.  At the end of the day everyone wins, as employees are happier, the bottom line is healthier and there is an environment of success.

Using communication style assessments such as DISC, when accurately and professionally interpreted by an experienced DISC Consultant, can help promote highly functional teams. Team members better understand and communicate with each other, leading to increased effectiveness, engagement, satisfaction and profitability.

Listen to Allison Tabor’s interview on Smart Women Talk Radio, 3 Secrets to Thriving and working within a dysfunctional team.

Allison is a Certified Professional Coach, Licensed DISC and One Page Business Plan® Consultant and Facilitator with over 23 years of firsthand business ownership expertise, specializing in Communications and Strategic Planning. She strategically helps leaders and their teams get further faster.

Allison is also the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) Diablo Valley Chapter Chair, facilitating a peer advisory group of Bay Area multi-million dollar entrepreneurial women presidents and CEOs in order to bring the “genius out of the group” and accelerate the growth of their business.

Contact Allison Tabor, CPC to arrange a complimentary initial consultation to discuss how she can assist you and your team, or 925.876.3161.