Do you have a high performing management team? Could it be better?

If your answer is anything less then great,... and yes it could be better. You are not alone.

All to often it is easier just to accept that although your team is not functioning optimally, it is perhaps good enough. However the management team is the compass for the entire organization. If at some level a management team is dysfunctional - this dysfunction will spread throughout the organization. Conversely, if a management team works together and is cohesive around a clear direction, this cohesion will also spread; creating a healthy winning culture throughout the organization that will go the "extra mile" to exceed on objectives.

Improving the performance of a team requires effort, focus, courage to face the issues and expertise, but the returns can be dramatic. Improving the performance of your management team will impact the productivity of your entire organization.

Below is a checklist of the top "derailers" that we see in working with management teams. These are signs that your team is getting off track and not delivering to its full potential. If you see these signs, it is time to take action and begin the work of building a more productive team.

1. Lack of energized open debate and participation. Are team meetings just a time to report on updates? Team meetings should involve lively discussion, feedback and open dialog on the real issues? If communication is becoming guarded or just about sharing information, you are loosing out on the value and creativity of your team.

2. Unmanaged conflict. Differences of opinion and conflict are inevitable within a team, however differences, when managed well, lead to creative problem solving and better decision-making. A sign that the team is getting derailed is when communication becomes disrespectful and crosses the line, leading to power struggles and more serious relational issues.

3. Working in "stove-pipes". In highly effective management teams, communication and information is shared both within the team and across the departmental/organizational lines. When people work mostly within the stovepipe of their department, decisions get made in isolation without a complete overview of the issues. As the isolation increases, people think in terms of "Us vs. Them", walls get built and energy is diverted to maintaining the walls. At an advanced stage, departments execute against their own agenda, with conflicting strategies and priorities.

4. Team members regularly do not deliver on their commitments. A serious problem is present when there is no behavioral connection between words and actions. This issue is debilitating for a team and will quickly escalate to other issues if the causes are not identified and addressed.

5. Lack of shared goals and/or vision. When the goals or vision of the company is lost in the day-to-day struggle, it is easy to loose perspective and blame others for a lack of commitment or results. The good news is that developing and communicating clear goals and vision can quickly address this issue.

6. The black hole. When the same issues keep being discussed but not resolved or implemented, the team is operating within a black hole. Frustration and demoralization will develop within the team.

7. Lack of trust between key members of the team. Trust is the heart of good teamwork and effective working relationships. If trust and cooperation have been derailed, the team will not be able to work effectively together. Initially communication will be hampered, leading to misunderstandings and decisions based on poor information. In time, the impact will be felt throughout the organization causing rumors and politics, the antithesis of a healthy productive culture.

8. Internal imbalance. There needs to be a constant balance between dealing with internal issues and keeping the focus on customers and the market. When internal divisiveness draws all the personnel focus to the internal problem, then the balancing act is lost and problems are inevitable.

9. Lost connection between employees and management. Effective management teams foster communication throughout the organization. Getting and giving feedback at all levels is a built in way to keep the team working cooperatively. Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy company culture.

10. Lost creativity. If you notice that there is a decrease in creativity, this is a sign that the team is becoming disengaged. Once again this calls for an assessment of the problem and a problem solving strategy based on the findings.

Author's Bio: 

Doris Kovic an Executive and Business coach is the founder of Leading Insight. With over 25 years of experience in organizational development and international business leadership, Doris helps companies build exceptional leadership, teamwork and effective business practices. Her clients benefit from energized and aligned employees that produce greater results.

Please visit Leading Insight at for more leadership articles.