Unhappiness in teams, just like joy and sadness, is contagious. In fact, research has proven that our emotions are contagious within seven minutes. This means that just one unhappy employee can have a negative impact on a team or organisation in only seven minutes.

While we have all probably experienced the impact of unhappiness in teams, there is a great need for organisations to cultivate a more positive workplace culture which will improve the well-being of employees. Happiness is becoming the new measure of job satisfaction; in fact, happiness at work has become so important to people that it’s one of the primary reasons why people choose to either leave or stay in their job.

In this article, we will show why unhappiness is an important indicator for your team’s performance, how to notice the signs of unhappiness, and what to do to combat the spread of unhappiness in your organisation.

Ten Signs of Unhappiness in Your Team

As we have mentioned in previous articles, there is extensive research proving the effect happy employees have on organisations. However, there is also a lot of information showing the impact and substantial costs that unhappy employees can have on the organisation and its bottom line.

Becoming aware of the warning signs of unhappiness in your team is a good starting point. This requires keeping your nger on the pulse of the team, noticing toxic or negative behaviours before they spread.

Ten Warning Signs of Unhappiness in Your Team are:

  1. Reduced organisational commitment
  2. Poor time management – leaving early and arriving late
  3. High staff turnover
  4. Low levels of accountability
  5. Increased micromanaging
  6. Low levels of volunteerism and organisational citizenship
  7. Poor engagement, productivity, and performance
  8. Limited problem-solving and innovation ability
  9. Poor workplace relationships
  10. Increased stress, burn-out, and absenteeism

Based on these findings – which is by no means an exhaustive list – it becomes apparent even to the most traditional of leaders, that happiness at work is not just a nice-to-have, but is in fact vital for the economic viability of a business and the sustainable productivity of its workforce.

Five Factors that Cause Unhappiness in Teams, and How to Combat Them

While unhappiness in teams is more prevalent than we would like it to be, research is being done to understand its causes and influences, and how we can increase happiness at work.

4Seeds is passionate about this illuminating and evolving research into Positive Psychology and positive organisations. We strive to build happy cultures for organisations which in turn cultivates an engaged, productive, and committed workforce, delivering a more sustainable positive impact on society. This is our philosophy.

Here are the five key factors which cause unhappiness in teams, and what we are doing to combat them.

1) Unsupportive Management

Research has shown that poor leadership is the predominant reason why people leave their jobs. While this may be a hard pill to swallow, it is fact. Happiness levels in organisations need to start at the top!

Our Meaningful Leadership Development Programme is designed to equip new and experienced leaders with the soft skills and personal mastery needed to lead others effectively. At 4Seeds we believe that with a combination of self-awareness, strong soft skills, and the passion to make a meaningful impact, any leader can create a positive culture at work.

2) Lack of Tools and Research to Complete the Job

Job performance and productivity require each individual to have clarity on their role and the resources (tangible and intangible) to meet the job demands competently. If one does not have the resources (time, equipment, knowledge, supervision, or confidence) to achieve the outcomes of their job, they can quickly become disinterested, disengaged and depressed. Achievement is one of the fundamental pillars of happiness, so organisations need to provide the necessary resources for each individual to full their role effectively.

4Seeds specialises in employee engagement. From organisation-wide assessments to bespoke interventions, we are the perfect learning and development partner to assist you to build and sustain the resources and human capacities needed for your teams to move from unhappy to engaged.

3) Little Opportunity for Professional Growth

As we all know, growth and development are invaluable to our motivation at work. Why should we work if we don’t know where it will lead? Learning and development are fundamental to every organisation that wants to train and maintain its staff.

4Seeds offers workshops and trainings which serve to build the skills needed to survive and thrive in the modern workplace. From resilience and stamina, to strengths-based work efficacy, we have 12 training modules which can be tailor-made to suit your employees’ learning and development needs.

4) Poor Internal Processes and Systems

As W. Edwards Deming (American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant) so aptly put it “eighty-five percent of the reasons for failure are deficiencies in the systems and process rather than the employee. The role of management is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better.”

Effectively, systems and processes within an organisation take strategy, innovation, foresight, and a willingness to learn and adapt along the way. Ours is to be an objective, external partner to your strategic development. We have expertise in corporate governance, systems thinking, industrial psychology, and leadership, and can provide a fresh perspective to take your company into the future.

5) Dissatisfaction with Colleagues

Team dynamics and conflicts are inevitable. Without the skills and insight to respect diversity and share frustrations, collaborate on ideas and build trust, any team is just waiting for unhappiness to strike. Positive co-worker relationships are considered one of the top five reasons why people stay at their jobs. So, creating positive, respectful and collaborative working relationships is vital to the productivity and happiness of each respective individual involved.

At 4Seeds we are experts in building human capital and positive relationships. Our Positive Team Building packages provide a choice of 12 topics. Each one of these topics will upskill the individuals on your team while cultivating a positive, cohesive working culture. The workshops can be done individually or grouped together into a more integrated team-building strategy.

In Conclusion

Unhappiness in teams can no longer be an afterthought. If future leaders begin building happiness into their strategy for the years to come, we are more likely to create a stable, lucrative, empowering, and happy economy.

4Seeds is dedicated to this mission and have made it our core purpose to build happier organisations in South Africa. We would love to hear from you and assist your organisation to go from unhappy to satisfied, from unfulfilled to engaged, and from individual surviving to collective thriving.

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Leave A Comment