The winning formula: How to avoid teamwork anti-patterns
Have you ever been part of a team that just couldn’t seem to work well together? Maybe there were conflicts, missed deadlines, or a general lack of productivity. If so, you may have experienced what’s known as a “teamwork anti-pattern.”
A teamwork anti-pattern is a common problem that occurs when a team is not functioning effectively. It can arise from a variety of factors, here we’ll quickly explore common team problems and offer practical tips for building effective teams and avoiding anti-patterns.
A shared vision is the core foundation for any successful team. Without a clear sense of direction, teams can become disengaged and directionless. Research shows that teams with a clear and compelling vision are more motivated and aligned towards success (1). Here’s how you can establish a shared vision:
- Collaborate with team members to define and refine the team’s mission and purpose.
- Develop specific and measurable goals that align with the team’s vision.
- Communicate the vision and goals clearly and consistently to foster shared understanding.
Outcome-focused work is the key to driving productivity and innovation. By focusing on meaningful results rather than ‘busy work’, teams can achieve their goals and create meaningful impact. Research shows that outcome-focused teams are more productive and innovative (2). Here’s how you can cultivate an outcome-focused work culture:
- Set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
- Involve team members in the goal-setting process to encourage buy-in and ownership.
- Regularly assess progress and adjust course as needed.
Effective progress tracking is essential for keeping teams on track and achieving their goals. By staying on top of project status and identifying issues early, teams can adjust and optimize their performance. Research shows that teams that track progress are more likely to achieve their goals (3). Here’s how you can keep tabs on progress:
- Use project management tools and agile methodologies to break down complex projects into manageable tasks and track progress using burndown charts or other visual aids.
- Assign responsibilities and timelines to team members to ensure accountability.
- Regularly assess progress and adjust plans as needed.
To ensure that project and management software actually aid teams instead of creating obstacles, it’s crucial that the software is easy to set up and use. It shouldn’t burden teams with additional overhead or require extensive training to operate. Additionally, the software shouldn’t dictate the problem-solving process – instead, it should support and enhance the way the team chooses to work. In order to achieve this:
- Choose software that prioritizes simplicity and user-friendliness.
- Avoid rigid, overly complicated processes that require blind adherence.
- Ensure that the software can adapt to the team’s problem-solving approach.
Effective teams are the foundation of any successful business. By cultivating a shared vision, prioritizing outcome-focused work, tracking progress, and simplifying software, teams can avoid dark patterns and achieve their goals. With these practical tips, your team can become a winning team too!
- Chen, G., & Bliese, P. D. (2002). The role of different levels of leadership in predicting self- and collective efficacy: Evidence for discontinuity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(3), 549–556.
- Gartner. (2019). Leading Through Change: The Five Key Behaviors of Successful Transformation. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/en/human-resources/insights/leading-through-change
- Hsu, C.-H., & Lu, H.-P. (2007). Why do people play on-line games? An extended TAM with social influences and flow experience. Information & Management, 44(7), 668–675.