Having been a part of many work teams over my career – both as just a member and the lead manager – I can tell you one thing: there is no such thing as a “dream team.” Without fail, there will always be something wrong with your team. Here I present a (non-comprehensive) list of problems and potential solutions:
- Personality clashes. Looking back, I think every team I’ve every worked on has had some sort of a personality clash. Sometimes two people who just plain don’t like each other have to work together. Sometimes it’s a matter of how people like to work: one person wants to have a list of tasks to check off and another wants to be put in a bubble with a major goal and not be bothered. Whatever the cause of your personality clash, try to keep all debates focused on work (not the likability of team members). Set rules that everyone understands, and if you’re the manager, make sure they’re followed or bad feelings set in.
- Not having the right skill mix on the team. You may be deficient in a key area. Or you may have to assign a type of task to a team member who has never done that sort of thing before. I’ve been the “photoshop artist” on small web projects before (heaven forbid), and it wasn’t necessarily pretty, but you have to do what you can with limited resources. If the skill is extremely necessary to the project, you can sometimes trade or barter skill sets with other teams within the company.
- Lack of resources. This can be time, money, office space, work equipment, and any host of non-personnel related resources. If you can get more of it, again, by bartering and trading, go for it. If you can’t, then you have to set realistic goals with what you have. Those need to be communicated outward to people not on the team so they realize the situation you’re up against. If you’re the manager, it may be worth your effort to spend time outside your team securing resources.
- Motivation killers. Oftentimes during a project, everything’s going smoothly until – BLAM – something happens to disrupt your groove and kill motivation. This could be someone entering or exiting the team. It may be the company taking a new direction (and thus wanting your project to change drastically). It could be the project has faced setback after setback and everyone has lost their original excitement. Showing progress to your team can help here. Communication also does wonders. And sometimes just getting together to pow-wow on a personal (and not just personnel) level with your team – whether that be a team lunch or outing – can help get through some of these obstacles.
Got your own examples of the dream team problems and solutions? Present them in the comments below.
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