I hear this story – or
one like it often. It makes me believe it
is the norm, not the exception (except in companies
with strong team-based cultures).
Here's how it goes: "Our company seems to assign
people from appropriate
departments 'to work on a project‘ as a
Often, someone in a high level position, with lots
other pressing responsibilities (and not necessarily
training in team leadership) – is named team
leader. The team goals or assignment are often somewhat
The roles of the team members are often undefined.
Resources are often not identified or available.
is it any surprise that when our teams meet, they flounder
- struggling with what to do and who should
do what? Sometimes certain people jump into action
immediately – before
we really define what we are trying to do. Obviously
this doesn’t produce stellar results. Other times,
the team is actually inactive for a long period because
no one does anything productive until a crisis (deadline)
long, conflict erupts on many of our teams (I guess
some people call this the storming stage of team building) – sometimes
these personality clashes are out in the open, other
times they are more indirect and ‘under the table’.
After a while, the necessity to act – to do something
becomes very real. A few team members may then step
up to the plate and carry the load. Too often credit
is taken by people who did nothing to contribute.
you have never worked on a dysfunctional team.
But chances are, you know someone who has.
probably why Gibbs wrote, in 1995: