Teamwork is a well-meant concept that should lead to greater productivity and performance. It means leveraging off each other’s ideas, experience, and knowledge. Unfortunately, this is not how a lot of teams function. Whether it’s poor communication, lack of diversity and inclusion, or power politics, teamwork often becomes a nightmare to manage.

Dysfunctional teams have a physical, psychological, and emotional impact on the individuals involved, the team morale, and the organisational goals. The impact becomes apparent in their work engagement, commitment, and performance. The team energy feels uncomfortable, tense, and heavy, and leaders spend their days micro-managing and mediating conflict situations. This is obviously draining on time, resources, and efficiency. A team that’s not functioning well together can be felt and seen by people within and outside of the team. Customers will notice if a team is dysfunctional by receiving poor and inconsistent service.

Signs of a dysfunctional team

  • Poor communication
  • Missing deadlines
  • Miscommunication
  • Low team morale
  • Lack of decision making
  • Mistrust
  • Duplicated tasks
  • Increase in mistakes
  • Poor accountability
  • Increased silo effect
  • Poor collaboration
  • Wait-and-see approach
  • Lack of innovation and creativity
  • Unresolved conflicts
  • Emotional disconnect

Personal signs of a dysfunctional team

  • Lack of trust
  • Disengagement
  • High levels of unnamed stress
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Withholding information
  • Blaming or shaming colleagues
  • Lack of desire to collaborate
  • Low levels of commitment
  • Corridor talk and gossiping