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How to Guarantee a Bad Team?

How to Guarantee a Bad Team?

When a team fails – are team members responsible?

Cristiano Ronaldo is known as one of the best soccer players in the world. However, following his team’s (Real Madrid) disappointing performance in the 2015/16 season, he famously said during an interview,[1]

“If everyone else was at my level maybe we would be top of the table.”

    Realizing that this probably sounded a little arrogant, he later explained that he didn’t mean to blame his teammates.

    Even if Ronaldo didn’t intend to blame his teammates, lots of people, including team leaders do say something like that and think that team members are the ones responsible for failures. But is it really so?

    Here’s another example. This time from the world of basketball. The Los Angeles Lakers won three straight NBA championships from 2000–2002, but their fortunes faded shortly after that. The reason? Well, it certainly wasn’t the lack of talented players and coaches. Instead, it was the fact that the team suffered from poor leadership, which led to the players becoming frustrated and conflicted.[2]

    As I’ll soon show, when harmony is missing from a team, failure is usually not far around the corner.

    The True Reason Why a Team Fails

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      There are several common reasons why teams fail.

      Lack of a clear purpose or goal. 

      When a team does not know what to accomplish or what is expected, the team members will be unmotivated to move forward. And worse still, many of the team members will find the uncertainty scary and unsettling. Clearly, this is not the atmosphere needed to take a team to the top.

      For example, imagine if a team leader told his team members not to worry about achieving any goals. While day-to-day work might continue, it’s highly unlikely that the team will achieve anything groundbreaking or worthwhile.

      Lack of clear guidelines or instructions.

      Having a goal to aim for is essential, but equally, it’s vital that team members have definite guidelines or instructions to follow. Without these, the team won’t know how to work together – or what to do to improve.

      Think of a production line in a factory. If the production line workers don’t understand what they need to do, then the line will soon break down.

        Lack of planning.

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        Without specific action plans and deadlines that are possible to achieve, a team may be unable to stretch to their full potential.

        For instance, a successful marketing team will follow a strict marketing plan. This will include specific dates for things such as social media campaigns and press releases. A marketing team that has no plan, will be weak and ineffectual.

        Lack of encouragement.

        Encouragement is the vital energy that keeps teams enthusiastic and continuously moving forward. I’m sure you can think of times when you’ve had a negative, criticizing manager. No doubt, you just wanted to leave your job. And I bet you certainly weren’t motivated.

        Conversely, think about a time when you had a manager who was always encouraging and positive towards you. Even if you didn’t like the role much, you most likely worked well as you wanted to please your manager.

          So, what happens to a team that follows one or more of the four negatives above?

          The first thing that occurs is that a consistently low standard of quality will be output by the team. There will also be an environment that fosters lazy or passive team members. (In other words, team members who don’t make any effort to improve themselves or the team.)

          The team will also be likely to deny their responsibilities. For example, if they demonstrate poor performance – or even make mistakes – they’ll look for excuses.

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            A team that doesn’t work on the same page and isn’t motivated will stay the way the are: at the bottom, and failing to ever improve.

            There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Team

            All the above things that a team lacks – are things that good leadership can help avoid.

              You may have heard the expression that “there are no bad students, only bad teachers.” Well, in my experience, it’s exactly the same with teams. There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.

              Team leaders must accept total responsibility, own problems that inhibit performance, and develop solutions to those problems.

              A team can only deliver exceptional performance if their leader ensures they work harmoniously together towards a focused goal and with increasingly high standards of performance.

              Get Back on the Road to Success

              Okay, you’ve successfully ploughed through the negatives. Well done! Let’s now look at some concrete steps you can take to get your team working to their full potential.

              1. Set clear directions and goals

              Don’t just introduce long-term goals which seem too far away for the team to visualize the end results. Instead, have immediate and short-term goals so there’ll be small milestones to achieve, step-by-step before reaching the primary goals. When these small steps are added up together – the team will find they’re achieving some great stuff!

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              Let me give you an example. Let’s say an upcoming pop band wants to record an album. Unfortunately, they don’t have any budget or any songs of their own. In a situation like this, an album will probably remain a distant dream. However, if the band were to break down their goal into small steps, they would be sure to be encouraged by their initial successes. (These might be writing their first song, or saving enough money to book a recording studio.)

              2. Ensure the team know what is expected of them

              A team leader must ensure that team members do not slip into substandard performance and start to make this their new standard. In order to avoid this, the team leader will need to make it clear that there will be consequences for team members who don’t meet the required standards.

              This is not to say that the team leader should act like a dictator. As I’ve mentioned above, this management style will kill the motivation of team members. Instead, through performance appraisals and specific goals, a team leader can work with his team to make sure they stay on track. Team members who don’t make the grade, will most likely need more training and encouragement. Of course, if this fails, then it may be time for the team leader to suggest to the team member that they might be better off in another role, team – or company!

              3. Team leaders must always strive to improve

              Dynamic and successful teams must continuously review their performance to help identify weaknesses – and to find ways to overcome them. They must also find out their strengths – and enhance and make the best use of them.

              It’s obvious that a team leader must lead the way with the above performance reviews.

              Imagine an ambitious CEO of a tech startup. They have great vision and big, impressive goals. However, they lack one key leadership characteristic: they don’t know how to help teams within the company to continuously improve. A leadership failure like this can be fatal to a company’s success. Fortunately, even if the CEO can’t lead the teams in this way, a strong team leader could be brought in to oversee the workings and performance of the company’s teams.

              Leading the Way

              Great teams always have great leaders. And a great leader will understand that acknowledgement of failure and ownership of problems are key to a winning team. They won’t blame team members for failure – but instead, will always believe that the buck stops with themselves.

              Next time you come across a bad team, take a close look at their leader. You’ll most likely find that they’re failing to lead their team properly. Conversely, the next time you come across a successful team, take a close look at their leader. You’ll almost definitely find a purposeful person, who leads their team by example.

              Whether you’re a team leader or a team member, try adopting the tips in this article. I’m sure you’ll find that they’ll lead to increased productivity, achievements and overall team satisfaction.

              Reference

              More by this author

              Leon Ho

              Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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              Last Updated on April 8, 2020

              Top 10 Management Skills Any Strong Leader Should Master

              Top 10 Management Skills Any Strong Leader Should Master

              The newspaper headlines, blogs, social media, TV programs are talking about leaders, leadership qualities and people who occupy high positions in government, enterprises and multinational corporations more and more every day.

              We understand that all these high positions are not the main things we should talk about. Leadership is not about the profession, place of a particular person in the hierarchy of the company or government body. It doesn’t make anyone a strong leader.

              Being a strong leader means acquiring management skills which allow you to lead people, to get them to the new achievements and high results. That’s the ticket. It doesn’t matter you are a small company manager or an industry leader the next list of TOP-10 management skills will boost your effectiveness, will make you a strong leader.

              1. Always Inspire the Team

              Remember that your job is not just about hitting goals, enhancing sales or raising profits. We both realize the importance of these indicators for stakeholders and investors.

              Now let’s focus on leading your team. Be rooted in reality and always strive to give your empathy, perspective to all circumstances and situations you encounter.

              Roll up your sleeves and inspire:

              • Be visible among your staff to become their inspiration. There is no chance to be a good leader hiding in your office on a top floor;
              • Join your team to complete ad-hoc projects. Believe us, your participation and contribution is always inspiring;
              • Focus on each person’s strengths, stay enthusiastic with his/her contribution;
              • Be closer to your team;
              • Find the right words. It may be the biggest challenge of the day, the right words in a difficult situation can show that you are a really good leader.

              Need more inspirations? This article can help: The Simplest Ways To Inspire People And Change Their Life

              2. Make a Wise Delegation Your Number One Priority

              It is obvious that you can’t do everything by yourself. Moreover, you shouldn’t do that.

              Your ability to delegate responsibilities shows that you trust your staff, you are sure in their competitiveness.

              It is the best thing that you can do within a team environment. You’re able to kill two birds with one stone: you can reduce your own stress level and make the workplace more friendly showing confidence in workers’ abilities.

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              How to delegate to the right person?

              When you’re thinking about the person who will take some responsibilities consider three factors:

              • The relevance between the skills, experience of the person and the delegated tasks;
              • Working style (is he or she is a team player or independent performer; does he has goals which correspond with the responsibilities which you want to delegate?);
              • The workload of the person (does he/she has time to take new responsibilities or this delegation requires some reshuffling of responsibilities).

              Check out Lifehack’s CEO advice on how to delegate: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

              3. Stay Responsible and Don’t Blame

              Failures always happen. You need to accept this fact and learn how to overcome them. Your job is not to find who is wrong but to take responsibility together with your staff.

              Make your subordinates understand that all of them are accountable for the decisions they make. Remember that you are their leader, you should take a part of the responsibility for their actions.

              Always give them a pat on the back if you see their good results but don’t blame in case of failure. Make an atmosphere in which everyone feels your support and willingness to realize mistakes together and work on their improvement hand by hand.

              Taking personal responsibility for your company and everything that happens in it including failures will motivate your employees to follow you.

              Don’t make excuses, better do this:

              • Take your personal responsibility for the failure;
              • Try to work on the problem to fix it;
              • Think about what you should have done before to prevent this mistake and what to improve in the future.

              4. Encourage Creative Thinking and Innovations

              What is the difference between the follower and the leader? The leader always looks ahead, he is not afraid of innovations, creative approaches to management and business processes.

              Innovative and creative thinking are qualities which make you stand out from the crowd and enable your team to get 200%, not 100% of the result.

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              Don’t forget to encourage your staff because the majority of people perceive innovations painfully and adopt new rules with reluctance. It is all about phycology, a good leader should take it into account.

              Encourage creativity in your team:

              • Become a model for your staff, show your dedication to innovations;
              • Create a supportive atmosphere for creativity in a workplace;
              • Launch events and processes to find and capture creative ideas;
              • Reward fresh ideas, innovations, celebrate success with your team.

              In short, ensure psychological safety in your team, this will encourage more innovative ideas. Learn more about psychological safety here: If You Want an Invincible Team, Make Them Feel Safe

              5. Stay Positive in Any Circumstances

              If you want to be a great leader, you should understand that you need to be positive and motivated despite any circumstances.

              Even in the hardest situation, you should be an example to follow for your staff because you will be who leads the way, so stand firm and show a positive attitude.

              Always keep the lights:

              • Create constantly friendly, open atmosphere in your workplace;
              • Remain positive when things go wrong;
              • Find the ways to keep your team motivated when the situation goes in a bad way.

              Here’re more tips to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining Your Positive Attitude

              6. Develop Your Employees

              Along with developing yourself don’t forget that without people around you and their skills the success may be not so bright.

              Thanks to the staff development, not only employees will get new skills which they can use when they write resumes, your team can make tasks easier; besides, it will foster morale.

              Use these tips to develop your staff:

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              • Turn your staff meetings into an instrument of learning;
              • Launch annual education/ training for employees with coaches, experts;
              • Encourage their willingness to develop their skills;
              • Share your own knowledge with your team

              7. Remember Your past Experience When Making a Decision

              Futuristic vision is good. But you can’t go far in business without your experience. You should make all management decisions taking into account not only your skills, statistics, ideas of key stakeholders or innovative approaches.

              You should also consider your past lessons. The right decision made at the right time has a great impact on the masses.

              Look ahead, think hard before making a decision. But after you make it, be firm and stand by it.

              Improve your decision making:

              • Trust your management vision, intuition;
              • Try to connect your present-day challenge with the lessons which you learned in your career before;
              • Better to take notes when you make important decisions, write down the results both positive and negative so that you could get back to them in the future.

              You can also take a look at this guide for making better decisions: Decision Making 101: How To Be a Successful Decision-Maker

              8. Show Your Charisma and Confidence

              As for charisma, everything is simple like wiping the window in the rain. People normally are more likely to follow the person who they like.

              Let’s remember the best leaders. All of them are friendly, close to people, well-spoken, showing care and empathy.

              If you behave in that way, your employees feel that it is not hard to reach you, they will show a willingness to follow you.

              Make confidence your strength.

              Believe in your success and your company’s prosperity, show it everywhere.

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              A great leader exhibits confidence to everyone in any situation. (Take a look at the 5 Key Traits of a Charismatic Leadership.) This will inspire your employees and give them the feeling of confidence in the future, that’s exactly what you need for enhancing their achievements.

              9. Sense of Humor Is Vital to Success

              As a leader, you need to have a sense of humor. Show it when something goes wrong and you need to encourage, relax your employees.

              The ability to laugh things off can make morale up which is so important for staff productivity in difficult situations.

              How the sense of humor can save you in some situations:

              • Humor is able to humanize you. It makes your employees feel that you are all in the same boat, boost camaraderie;
              • It is a key component of a set of empathetic leadership.
              • Humor promotes a sense of shared culture, unity in a workplace.

              10. Consider Failures as Challenges Not as Unrecoverable Mistakes

              Even if you try the hardest in the world failures will happen. Your job is to cope with them and do it with honor.

              If something goes wrong, realize that it has already happened and try to find the best solution.

              How to manage failures:

              • Remain calm, think logically;
              • Don’t stay apart from your team because it may cause the negative morale;
              • Encourage discussion, communication within the team to find the root of the problem, design the best solution.

              The Bottom Line

              It is not easy to become a strong leader, you must have a lot of qualities and experiences. You should look ahead and go beyond the frames in your everyday tasks and responsibilities.

              Moreover, you should be an example of intelligence, wisdom, honesty, commitment and dedication. And that’s why these 10 management skills are so important to master if you want to become a great leader.

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              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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