Synergy Unleashed: The Power of Great Teamwork

 In employee experience, employee retention, Leadership Development, leadership training, Rick Conlow, Servant leadership, Teamwork

A great leader knows that employee synergy unleashes the power of great teamwork. Conversely, mediocre or bad bosses enable poor attitudes and destroy teamwork.

We collaborated with other consulting firms to work with a global client that had intense competition and needed significant performance improvement. Our assessment identified a silo mentality throughout the organization and minimal leadership development or training. As a result, employee engagement, quality, and customer service results were average at best. This cost the company significant business. Can you relate to that?

We addressed the issues with new communication channels, customer service and quality initiatives, on-going quality leadership training for all leaders (executives, too), and team development applications. As the organization learned to work together better through training, numerous cross functional teams arose to deal with process, quality systems, and procedural issues. As a result, business results increased, and the company won the Malcolm Baldrige award for quality service.

This post will give you the lessons we learned on teambuilding and hopefully inspire you to believe in your employees so that they can become a high-performing team.

Synergy Unleashed: The Power of Great TeamworkThe Top 10 Culprits of Bad Teamwork

Bad teamwork results from both internal and external forces that impact companies. Here are the top ten.

  1. Lack of communication: Communication breakdowns can hinder effective teamwork. When team members don’t communicate clearly, misunderstandings and conflicts can arise, leading to a breakdown in collaboration.
  2. Lack of trust: Trust is essential for effective teamwork. If team members don’t trust one another or leadership, it can create a toxic environment where individuals hesitate to share ideas, delegate tasks, or provide support.
  3. Unclear goals and roles: When team members are uncertain about their roles and responsibilities or the team’s overall goals, it can lead to confusion and inefficiency. Without clear direction, team members may work in different directions or duplicate efforts, hampering overall teamwork.
  4. Personality clashes: Differences in personalities, work styles, or values among team members can result in conflicts and hinder effective collaboration. If individuals are unable to work together harmoniously, it can create a negative team dynamic.
  5. Poor leadership: The behavior and actions of team leaders can significantly impact teamwork. If leaders fail to provide guidance, support, or recognition, it can demotivate team members and lead to disengagement.
  6. Lack of accountability: When team members are not held accountable for their actions or their commitments, it can result in a lack of responsibility and a decrease in overall team performance.
  7. Limited resources: Insufficient resources, such as time, budget, or equipment, can impede teamwork. When team members are overwhelmed by workload or face constant constraints, it becomes challenging to collaborate effectively.
  8. Inadequate training or skill gaps: If team members lack the necessary skills or knowledge to perform their tasks, it will hinder teamwork. Training and development opportunities are essential to ensure that everyone has the required expertise to contribute effectively.
  9. Negative organizational culture: The overall culture within an organization can impact teamwork. If the organizational culture promotes competition, silos, or a lack of collaboration, it can trickle down to the team level and hinder cooperation.
  10. External factors: Sometimes, external factors beyond the team’s control, such as external pressures, changes in market conditions, or unexpected events, can disrupt teamwork and make it difficult for team members to work together effectively.

Synergy Unleashed: The Power of Great Teamwork 12 Negative Ways Poor Teamwork Hurts Employees and Organizations

Poor teamwork demoralizes employees and produces a lack of respect for them. Which was a major reason for the Great Resignation and Quit. But the negative impact has other serious consequences, too.

  1. Lack of support: When teamwork is lacking, employees may feel unsupported or isolated. They may have to tackle tasks or challenges on their own without the assistance or collaboration of their teammates. This can lead to feelings of overwhelm, stress, and frustration, which can demoralize employees.
  2. Ineffective communication: Poor teamwork often goes hand in hand with ineffective communication. When team members do not communicate well or fail to provide timely and clear information, it can hinder productivity and create confusion. Employees may struggle to perform their tasks or meet deadlines due to a lack of information or coordination, leading to poor attitudes.
  3. Reduced motivation and engagement: When teamwork is poor, employees may feel disconnected from their colleagues and lack a sense of purpose or shared mission. This can result in reduced motivation, disengagement, and a decline in overall job satisfaction.
  4. Increased workload and stress: Ineffective teamwork can lead to an uneven distribution of workload. If some team members are not pulling their weight or there is a lack of coordination, others may have to take on additional responsibilities or work longer hours to compensate. This can lead to burnout, increased stress levels, and a sense of unfairness, all of which contribute to demoralization.
  5. Conflict and tension: Poor teamwork often breeds conflict and tension within a team. When team members do not work well together, disagreements, misunderstandings, and clashes of personalities can arise. This creates a negative work environment, strains relationships, and can significantly demoralize employees.
  6. Limited growth and development: Effective teamwork provides opportunities for learning, skill development, and knowledge sharing. When teamwork is poor, employees may miss out on these growth opportunities. They may be deprived of mentorship, collaborative problem-solving, or exposure to diverse perspectives. This can lead to a sense of stagnation and limited professional development, which can be demoralizing.
  7. Decreased productivity: Bad teamwork can lead to decreased productivity as team members may struggle to work together efficiently. Miscommunication, conflicts, and lack of coordination can result in wasted time and duplicated efforts. This inefficiency can lead to delays in project completion, missed deadlines, and ultimately, reduced output, poor customer service and lower sales.
  8. Increased employee turnover: Poor teamwork can contribute to higher employee turnover rates. When employees experience a negative work environment characterized by conflicts, lack of support, or ineffective collaboration, they may become dissatisfied and seek opportunities elsewhere. High turnover incurs costs for recruiting, training, and onboarding new employees, as well as potential disruptions to workflow and productivity.
  9. Lower quality outcomes: Bad teamwork can have a direct impact on the quality of outcomes produced by the team. When team members do not effectively collaborate or communicate, errors, mistakes, and oversights can occur. This can result in defective products, customer dissatisfaction, and the need for rework or recalls, all of which can incur additional costs and damage the company’s reputation.
  10. Increased costs of conflict resolution: Poor teamwork often leads to conflicts within the team. Resolving conflicts and addressing the underlying issues require time and resources. Managers may need to intervene, hold meetings, or engage in mediation processes to resolve conflicts. These activities take away valuable time and resources that could have been invested in productive work.
  11. Lost opportunities for innovation: In an environment of bad teamwork, team members may be less inclined to share ideas, collaborate on problem-solving, or contribute to innovation. This results in missed opportunities for new products, process improvements, or creative solutions to challenges. Lost opportunities for innovation can impact the company’s competitiveness, growth, and profitability.
  12. Damage to company culture and reputation: Poor teamwork can have a negative impact on the overall company culture and reputation. A toxic work environment marked by conflicts, lack of trust, and ineffective collaboration can discourage talented individuals from joining the organization. Additionally, if customers or clients experience the consequences of bad teamwork, such as poor service or communication breakdowns, it can damage the company’s reputation and result in lost business opportunities.

Matthew Woodring Stover, author of Star Wars novels, summed this up aptly, “If you take the team out of teamwork, it is just work. Now who wants that?”

Synergy Unleashed: The Power of Great TeamworkWhy do companies tolerate poor teamwork?

Companies may tolerate poor teamwork for mundane reasons, although it is not in their best interest to do so. Check these out.

  1. Lack of awareness: Sometimes, company leaders may not be fully aware of the extent or impact of poor teamwork within their organization. They may be unaware of the specific issues or the negative consequences it has on employee morale, productivity, and overall performance. Of course, this is ignorance and not a viable excuse.
  2. Focus on individual performance: In some cases, companies may prioritize individual performance over teamwork. They may place a higher emphasis on individual achievements and rewards, which can inadvertently discourage collaboration and teamwork. This can create an environment where poor teamwork is tolerated or even encouraged.
  3. Fear of confrontation: Addressing poor teamwork often requires confronting and addressing underlying issues, which can be uncomfortable and difficult. Some leaders may shy away from confronting team members or addressing conflicts, fearing that it may escalate the situation or damage relationships. As a result, they tolerate poor teamwork instead of proactively dealing with it.
  4. Lack of resources or time: Addressing poor teamwork requires investment in resources, time, and effort. Companies that are stretched thin or facing resource constraints may struggle to allocate the necessary resources to identify and work on teamwork issues. This can lead to poor teamwork being tolerated as a lower priority compared to other pressing matters.
  5. Inadequate systems and processes: Companies with inadequate systems, processes, or structures in place may inadvertently contribute to poor teamwork. Lack of clear roles and responsibilities, ineffective communication channels, or inadequate team development programs can hinder effective collaboration. Companies that do not prioritize or invest in improving these areas may inadvertently tolerate poor teamwork.
  6. Organizational culture: The prevailing organizational culture can also influence the tolerance for poor teamwork. In some organizations, competition, individualism, or a hierarchical structure may be ingrained, which can undermine the importance of teamwork. If the culture does not prioritize or value collaboration, companies may inadvertently support poor teamwork.
  7. Poor Leadership: Many leaders at the top come from a finance background and this inhibits their focus on people. Others just do not care. They value power, money, and influence over people and purpose. Research shows that executive leadership has the lowest level of emotional intelligence and people skills of all layers of management.

Unfortunately, companies that recognize the importance of teamwork and actively work to address and improve it are rare. Research shows that 60% of all teams fail. Leadership consultant and author Ken Blanchard defined this by saying, “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

Synergy Unleashed: The Power of Great Teamwork6 Powerful Bottom-line Benefits of Great Teamwork

Here are key statistics highlighting the potential benefits of better teamwork:

  1. Increased productivity: A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that companies with effective collaboration and teamwork were five times more likely to be high-performing organizations. Improved teamwork can lead to better coordination, streamlined processes, and enhanced productivity.
  2. Reduced rework and errors: Effective teamwork can lead to better quality control and reduced errors, which can result in cost savings. A study by the Project Management Institute found that organizations with mature project management practices experienced a significant reduction in project rework, resulting in cost savings of up to 28% compared to organizations with poor project management practices.
  3. Higher employee retention: According to a report by Gallup, employees who strongly agree that their opinions count at work are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. When teams work well together and employees feel valued and supported, it can contribute to higher employee engagement and retention, reducing turnover costs.
  4. Enhanced innovation and creativity: A survey conducted by McKinsey found that organizations that prioritize collaboration and teamwork are twice as likely to be top financial performers in their industries. Collaboration fosters diverse thinking, encourages knowledge-sharing, and promotes creativity, leading to innovative solutions and potential competitive advantages.
  5. Improved customer satisfaction, loyalty, and sales: Research by Bain & Company shows that organizations with highly engaged teams achieve, on average, a 10% increase in customer loyalty and a 20% increase in sales. When teams work cohesively and effectively, it positively impacts the customer experience, resulting in higher satisfaction and increased loyalty.
  6. Cost savings through streamlined processes: Effective teamwork can lead to improved operational efficiency and streamlined processes. By eliminating duplication of efforts, minimizing errors, and enhancing communication and coordination, organizations achieve cost savings, and reduce operational inefficiencies.

Therefore, fostering a culture of great teamwork associates with positive financial outcomes and improved overall performance.

Synergy Unleashed: The Power of Great Teamwork7 Best Practices for Achieving Great Teamwork

Learn these seven best practices that accelerate the creation of superb teamwork.

  1. Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities: Ensure that each team member has a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the team. This clarity helps in avoiding confusion, duplication of efforts, and conflicts. Clearly defined roles also enable better coordination and collaboration.
  2. Foster Open and Transparent Communication: Establish channels for effective communication, such as regular team meetings, email updates, town hall type company meetings, or regular performance discussions. Create an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback.
  3. Set Clear Goals and Expectations: Clearly communicate  goals and expectations to all team members and ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them. Get them involved in creating the plans. This clarity and inclusion helps in aligning efforts towards common objectives and motivates team members to work together.
  4. Promote Trust and Respect: Build trust among team members by promoting a culture of respect and appreciation. Encourage team members to value each other’s opinions, ideas, and contributions. Recognize and celebrate individual and team achievements to boost morale and reinforce a positive team environment.
  5. Provide Regular Feedback and Performance Evaluation: Establish a system for providing regular feedback and performance evaluation. Offer constructive feedback to team members, highlighting their strengths and areas for improvement. Regular evaluations help in identifying any issues or challenges that need to be addressed, and they provide an opportunity for growth and development.
  6. Deliver Team and Leadership Training: On-going management and employee development leads to better performers. This includes executive leadership, too. People need to learn how to be team players. And they need to learn how teams work. Plus, management must learn servant leadership skills that foster team development.
  7. Apply Servant Leadership: A proven approach to foster a culture of collaboration and cooperation within the team. Servant Leader’s support individual and team development. They also encourage team members to work with a sense of purpose, share knowledge, and support each other. Furthermore, they promote cross-functional collaboration and create opportunities for team members to solve problems or work together. Guy Kawasaki said, “The companies that are successful, they start out to make meaning, not to make money.

Synergy Unleashed: The Power of Great Teamwork

In the final analysis, teamwork is an ongoing process, and it requires consistent effort and commitment from all team members and leaders. You must also value people-first. By implementing these best practices, you will unleash the power of synergistic teamwork and elevate the overall performance of your company, department, or team. Management guru Tom Peters succinctly sums this up, “The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I’. They don’t think ‘I’. They think ‘we’; they think ‘team’.”

Why not join us on LinkedIn for the Servant Leadership revolution that is taking place about the power of people? Go here:  ServantLeadership@RickConlow International. THANK YOU!

Also, click here for excellent insight and a complimentary resource called–4 Keys to Creating a High-Performance Team.

Synergy Unleashed: The Power of Great TeamworkIn addition, see our RealTime Learning & Training leadership and personal development website–over 250 resources. Micro-learning and career advancement at your fingertips!

Finally, see Rick’s newest book. The 5 Dynamics of Servant Leadership: How to accelerate your career and inspire your team!  See his newest self-directed leadership training: 21 Servant Leadership Training Lessons.

CEO/Founder, Rick Conlow International: RCI transforms managers into leaders by coaching and training them to become Servant Leaders. Clients achieve record-breaking performances in sales growth, customer experience improvement, employee engagement and leadership effectiveness. Furthermore, RCI’s online resources coach and train all managers or employees to higher levels of career success.


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