Team Problems And How To Solve Them

Problems that can occur within a team can be caused by, for example:

  • loss of team members – e.g. popular members with valuable skills and experience
  • new team members who upset the balance – e.g. an imbalance within the Belbin team roles; due to inexperience
  • poor leadership – e.g. weak or authoritarian leadership styles
  • poor planning – e.g. resources not being available when needed; targets being unrealistic
  • reduced productivity – e.g. due to low morale or poor working practices
  • signs of stress – e.g. increased rates of sickness and absenteeism
  • missed deadlines – e.g. due to technical problems or poor team skills
  • conflict between team members – e.g. about standards or levels of output
  • lack of motivation, team spirit and direction – e.g. not engaging with shared objectives

Having identified the causes of problems or conflict, managers can develop an approach to tackle the issues. For example, they may need to facilitate:

  • one-to-one discussions – e.g. for private meetings about confidential information and opinions
  • team review meetings and briefings – e.g. for open discussions about options and exchanges of views
  • different opportunities for team members to pass on their views – e.g. via email or suggestion boxes
  • meetings with other managers and team leaders – e.g. to discuss problems that affect people outside the team

Once the suitable environment for discussion has been selected, managers need to think about their approach to solving the problems. Approaches could include, for example:

  • negotiation – e.g. to solve disputes between team members about workload or working practices
  • mind-mapping or brainstorming – e.g. to involve team members in thinking about how to solve problems
  • succession planning – e.g. to work out how to replace team members and develop the skills and team roles to rebalance the team
  • reviewing, agreeing and setting targets – e.g. to change deadlines or output levels to help the team cope with external changes
  • coaching and training sessions – e.g. to develop individuals, maybe with close monitoring, shadowing or one-to-one mentoring sessions
  • rotating team members between different tasks – e.g. to be as fair as possible and develop skills and experience
  • improving resource management – e.g. order extra physical or human resources to support the team

Good Luck!

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