11 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Team

MD: Leaders often make critical mistakes that erode their teams’ effectiveness. Here is a simple guide to making the most of your team.

11 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Team

With adequate investment in team formation and bonding, you can achieve a smooth work process and culture of commitment. However, many team leaders make critical mistakes when managing their teams. As a result, staff’s loyalty and morale may reduce, threatening the project’s outcomes and creating an unhealthy work environment.

Here is an informative guide on building creative teams that every leader should use. Keep these errors in mind, avoid them in daily practices, and you’re sure to notice a sizable improvement in your team’s performance. That’s a good investment worth making.

#1 Favoritism

A single goal binds people working in a team. They perform tasks within their scope of expertise to contribute to the final outcome as a team. Thus, they naturally expect recognition and praise for the work they do.

Thus, seeing that some staff member is treated differently for personal or professional reasons is a serious demoralizer. You can’t expect staff to work hard if they know that somebody else will get unfair praise for their team’s performance.

To avoid such a situation, you need to treat everybody in the team equally in terms of personal attitude and praise or punishment. It’s much more comfortable for people to work if they know what to expect at the end of the day, with a similar set of rules and expectations for everyone.

#2 One-Size-Fits-All Approach

An opposite situation to favoritism is a one-size-fits-all approach some team leaders adopt to avoid seeming preferential. No matter how democratic this approach seems to you, it doesn’t work in real life. All people are different, with some experts doing better than others. So, if you don’t notice that contribution and don’t praise it, high performers will quickly lose their enthusiasm. They may quickly degrade to mediocre performance or leave the company searching for a more objective evaluation of their work.

#3 Cliques and Nepotism

Another unhealthy situation within the team is the formation of cliques. Once an internal group of like-minded workers emerges within a team, it immediately marginalizes others. If these outsiders unify to form another clique, this trend may result in unhealthy competition in the team, causing project delays and low performance.

Besides, working amid an interpersonal conflict is far from a healthy, warm, and welcoming environment. It may drive some people out of the company because of low-stress resistance. So, take your time to assess the team spirit and dynamics, addressing such cliques at the early stages of their formation. This way, you can preserve the openness and friendliness within your team.

#4 Absence of Goals

People work much better if they know the leader’s expectations about them and have clear-cut performance metrics. The team should have a clear sense of the task’s scope, milestones, and deadlines for its completion. Besides, it helps to assign a specific sub-task to every team member. This approach helps avoid role ambiguity and conflict; both are destructive to team performance.

#5 Leader’s Distancing

An effective team works in a strong bond with its leader, discussing pivotal moments and seeking advice and feedback. If the leader is absent and unapproachable, some team members may feel confused about their tasks. It usually ends with delays or improper task completion, hindering the work progress and causing staff dissatisfaction.

#6 Anarchy

Though you might be a democratic leader, rules are still instrumental in keeping the team alive and functional. Anarchy leads to losing a sense of responsibility, which will never do good for your project. If employees don’t know what they should do and by which due date, they will procrastinate and do unrelated tasks.

Discipline may also suffer if there are no clear-cut rules and corporate culture requirements. If the team sees that rules are only threats with no enforcement, they won’t respect them. So, make sure you set the rules and explain the disciplinary measures for their violation. These boundaries will keep the team organized and working as they should.

#7 Absence of Trust

You can’t establish a productive and positive work environment if you don’t trust your team members. People like being trusted and perform much better without close, rigorous control. Thus, being more trusting and giving staff more freedom of initiative will pay off quickly.

#8 Absence of Tailored Rewards

Different staff members contribute to the team’s success differently. Some employees are ardent and hard-working, while others are creative and innovative. Some team members can outperform others, and it’s natural. So, a leader’s grave mistake is to level the team’s performance when assessing the employees’ performance.

Your task is to reward every staff member in line with their contribution, focusing on each person’s strengths. This approach will motivate people to be more productive, as they see their extra effort is acknowledged.

#9 Deafness to Initiative

Participatory management is not for everyone, as the approach to team governance depends on the leader’s personal style and business objectives. However, staying deaf to staff feedback and suggestions is a road to nowhere. People like being noticed and listened to, and it’s your excellent chance to give them a better sense of project ownership. Besides, staff’s suggestions often give a valuable perspective on the project issues you would have otherwise never noticed.

#10 Ignoring People’s Needs

Thinking about a team as a group of people coming to work for a salary is a very limiting perspective. If you believe that your staff should thank you for working here, you will quickly lose all motivated and skilled employees. Research proves that people stay with their employers not only for money. The culture and environment, social benefits, and personal recognition also matter. Thus, you will never keep staff loyal if you don’t give extra attention to people’s needs, motivation, and personal goals.

#11 Wrong Approach to Competition

Teams consist of people, and a leader encouraging unhealthy competition may ruin the fragile interpersonal dynamics in that group. The focus on performance is understandable, especially in companies pushed to extremes with fierce market competition. Still, making people compete by all means and manipulate others to achieve success is a huge failure of teamwork. You can adopt a different approach by unifying the team around a single goal, thus encouraging their collaboration. An effective team’s performance is greater than the sum of its parts, and you will quickly see the gains of investment in team bonding compared to the one-winner approach.

Huynh Nguyen

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