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Ten common challenges that teams face – and how to overcome them

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(6) No long-term thinking 

Businesses have to get beyond day-to-day urgencies, be able to take a holistic view, see the big picture and how all the parts fit together. For a team this means being able to think beyond your own area; how you fit into the wider organisation and how you impact the customer experience and value proposition. This is about business sustainability, long-term success. Everyone is busy but just being busy is not enough. Long-term success requires long-term thinking.

(7) Badly perceived, not delivering 

A team has a team brand, an image and a reputation, created by the actions and behaviours of the team members. A large part of the perception is driven by how well the team delivers on expectations and promises made. As a team you need to make sure that everyone understands and takes responsibility for their role in creating the perception of the team. This includes both what is delivered and how it is delivered.

(8) Poor change management

Change is constant, and unless carefully managed it can be detrimental to teamwork and results. Change starts and ends with communication. Whenever you think you’ve communicated enough, you need to communicate some more –and it needs to be interactive; listen, talk and involve. Be aware of the change curve, the four predictable stages of change; Denial/resistance, Emotional, Hopeful, Commitment. Each stage is needed but how long someone stays at each stage can be managed and kept to a minimum.

(9) Working in silos

Silo working is a reality for many teams. Team members may sit side by side but not really working together. A great team can be like the three musketeers – all for one and one for all. If you are in a team you may as well be really in it. Working together in earnest is about making the most of the fact that you are a team. Honour your time and efforts by seeing yourself as a full time member of the team, not just an individual contributor. Imagine how great it would feel to be part of a team where everyone is thinking of the team and not just themselves.

(10) Not going in the same direction 

To walk in the same direction, a team needs to know where they are going or what they are contributing to (vision) and why (purpose). Spend time on this with your team. This clarity provides a framework and “reason to be” that can rally a team to work together. Keep in mind that visions need to be compelling and purposes meaningful. People respond to the importance of both.

If you want to create a great team, pay particular attention to behaviours. How we behave has an impact on others and affects how they behave. It’s when we change our behaviours that we can achieve transformational change.

Mandy Flint and Elisabet Vinberg Hearn are the authors of new book Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions published by the FT. 

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