Why Teams Underperform - Free eBook in PDF Format

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Why Teams Underperform eBook  

Book Description - ISBN 978-1-62620-989-3 (31 Pages)
Rebuilding an under-perform ing team can be a huge challenge. This free eBook explains why teams under-perform and provides practical advice about how to identify and fix performance problems.

Chapter 1 - Team Performance Problems
All teams experience difficulties from time to time and it is your responsibility as a manager to resolve any problems as quickly as possible.

Chapter 2 - Herzberg's Hygiene Theory of Motivation
Herzberg's Hygiene Theory shows that the factors that result in satisfaction at work and those that result in dissatisfaction are quite different in nature.

Chapter 3 - Common Fallacies About Leading Teams
Research suggests that there are some commonly held fallacies about teams and that smaller teams who are familiar with each other often outperform larger teams with no experience of working together.

Chapter 4 - Six Silent Barriers to Performance
Mike Beer has identified six 'silent barriers' that cause teams to under-perform . These barriers cannot be tackled because they result from issues that senior management prefers to ignore.

Chapter 5 - Five Key Team Performance Factors
The most common reasons teams or individuals under-perform are: lack of clarity and focus, lack of ability, lack of confidence, lack of direction and lack of motivation.

Chapter 6 - Matrix Management Issues?
Matrix management is a technique of managing people through a series of dual-reporting relationships instead of a more traditional linear management structure. This means that some team members operate under a dual authority system - they report to their own line manager as well as the project manager.

Chapter 7 - Qualities of Leadership
By investigating the history of your team you can discover how successful previous managers have been in establishing incentives to motivate the team and how well each member's abilities match their role. This information will help you to come up with a development plan for each team member that enables him or her to work on their strengths.

Chapter 8 - GroupThink and in-group Behavior
GroupThink happens when teams ignore or attempt to discredit information that does not fit in with the group's ethos and beliefs. You are mostly likely to come across GroupThink if you are working in a highly cohesive team that is under pressure to make a decision or meet a deadline.

You will learn:
  • The four essential behaviors you must demonstrate in order to turn around an under-perform ing team.
  • How to deal with the problems inherent in matrix or cross-functional teams where you do not have authority over all of the team members.
  • The six 'silent barriers' to performance that cannot be tackled directly because they result from issues that senior management prefers to ignore.
  • How to recognize the symptoms of GroupThink and prevent it from becoming a problem in your team.
  • How to stop in-group behavior having an adverse effect on your team's performance and reputation within the organization.

Today's Top Picks for Our Readers:
Recommended by Recommended by NetLine

Worth Reading Even If Your Team Is Not 'Underperforming'
This is the second book I've read from this website and even though I don't really 'do' management books I like the ones on this site. This book is unusual for a management book in that it accepts the facts that you can't choose your team and that you can't do much about the culture that flows down from senior management. In spite of these things there is still plenty you can do to stop things from getting worse. That might sound a bit negative, but its the reality of my job in the healthcare sector.

I found that this book, short as it is, did actually offer me some practical advice about keeping up the morale in my team whilst accepting that I can't change the organizational culture. Even if you don't feel as though your team is 'under-perform ing', there is some good stuff in here about spotting team problems early on and stopping them from taking root and becoming serious.
Jennie C.

Touches on Business Politics and High-Level Problems
Underperforming teams are one of the fastest ways to lose productivity and competitiveness in your business. I hate the thought of wasting opportunities, so I wanted to read this book and make sure that none of the teams under my watch fall into this category - and if they do, what I can do about it. While this is a short eBook, it is actually very valuable to the average manager. By using this as a guide to identify your under-perform ing units, I think you will find that your operation benefits as a whole.

The first lesson that this book taught me is that it is not a matter of if your teams will under-perform , but rather when they will do so. I think we all like to think about our teams as being highly productive and somewhat bullet-proof (I know I do), but that just isn't reality. Teams are made up of human beings with feelings, emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. It is only natural for a team to under-perform at different stages - that doesn't mean that all hope is lost, just that they need to be steered back in the right direction.

I found interesting the section that speaks to what different factors keep employees motivated, or contribute to their dissatisfaction. I have always though that satisfied and happy employees is one of the most valuable things a company can have, but wasn't always sure how to maintain that satisfaction. I will be using some of the points made in this book to try and make sure my teams are happy with their positions and the various other factors that go into their employment. Even just one unhappy team member can have a powerfully poisonous effect on the rest of the team, and the company as a whole. I thought it was interesting that the text focuses more on 'keeping the dissatisfaction at a minimum' rather than looking for satisfaction. This might seem like semantics, but I think it is actually an important distinction. Rather than expecting your team members to love their job, just focus on preventing them from hating it, and you will be better off.

Another portion of this eBook that was particularly useful to me personally was the 'six silent barriers' section. These points highlight what could be causing the under-performance of a team, and how to quickly correct for the problems. This section touches on business politics, and how problems that exist on a higher level are often recognized but swept under the rug because of the status of the higher ranking officials. I know that I have felt this situation existing in some of my previous leadership roles, and I didn't know what to do about it. While the book doesn't offer a clear solution (because there often isn't one), just understanding the situation can lead to a better resolution.

The section near the end of the book on GroupThink is one that most leaders are probably already familiar with, but is powerful enough to warranty reviewing anytime you have the opportunity. To me, the symptoms of GroupThink are some of the fastest ways for a team to get off track, so always keeping an eye out for that problem is crucial to success. Encouraging the team to not get too caught up in their own world and making sure they continue to listen to the 'world' around them is vital, and something I always try to remember.

This eBook on why teams under-perform is well worth your small time investment that is required to read through it. The information might be review for some experienced managers, but I would guess that everyone can pull something from it that they have not encountered before.
Ollie Cain

Smart Ways to Make Your Team Perform Better
Why Teams Underperform is a useful book for managers or team leaders who are having trouble with their teams. One of the most difficult aspects of being a leader is making sure that your team performs well. Whenever something goes astray or not as planned, the manager or team lead is the first person to blame. It is definitely not a pleasant experience to have fingers pointed at you because your team wasn't able to reach its desired goal. Even worse is when you were confident in your own abilities but your mission derailed because of a few under-performers in your team.

Why Teams Underperform by Free Management Books can give you a glimpse into why your team is not able to reach its desired goals. It begins with a practical approach in terms of how you have to behave a certain way to turn around an under-perform ing team. Then it goes on to talk about the six "silent barriers" to performance. These two points topics were the most helpful in this book, which is why I even told a few friends to go through the free book. It also incorporates Herzberg's Hygiene factors, which are very useful to be an effective team leader and help your team succeed.

For those who aren't aware of this theory, it discusses motivating factors which influence job satisfaction and it also discusses hygiene factors which influence job dissatisfaction. The book discusses how achievement, recognition, responsibility, challenge, promotion, and growth are all motivating factors. I then realized that in some cases, I wasn't giving team members enough responsibility or challenge.

I was always great with recognition, promotion and growth because I thought that an individual's success is tied to how much money or recognition he/she gets, but I was wrong. Even though some of my team members were well paid employees, they were still under-perform ing because I simply didn't give them enough responsibility. Their intellect level was far superior and I kept on giving them mundane work that did not challenge them enough. This obviously let them to be highly de-motivated. So I started giving them more important work and larger tasks. This made them feel that I respected and appreciated their intellect and capability.

The other aspect of Herzberg's theory is hygiene factors which include supervision, company policy, relationship with boss, work conditions, pay & benefits, job security, and co-workers. To be honest, I didn't even think of many of these aspects until I saw them written in this book. Maybe because I thought that they didn't have anything to do with me directly. However, upon further thought, I noticed that some team members were not happy with their colleagues. They were constantly pressured by them or did not see positive body language from them.

This eventually led them to lose motivation, which is why they were not performing up to their standards in my team. I took the challenge head on and made various employees sit with each other and sort matters out. I was not going to face failure because people at the workplace were not getting along. Although I thought this was going to be difficult, it turned out quite well because everyone involved was really mature about the whole situation.

I think this book doesn't necessarily mention anything revolutionary, but what it does is present you very logical and smart ways to make your team turn around and perform better. It was good to read the book because it helped me remember a lot of the things I learned back in college.
Eloise Clarke


Understanding Why Teams Underperform - Understanding the different factors that contribute to your team's level of satisfaction is a significant part of your management role. In many instances you will need to focus on minimizing their dissatisfaction and recognize that this is a continual process. This is because what was satisfying yesterday is now seen as part of the 'package' so no longer has a positive influence.

Leadership Styles in Business - The Leadership Continuum described by Tannenbaum and offers a continuum of potential ways a manager can behave along which many leadership styles are placed. This offers you great flexibility in selecting the style of leaderships that best suits the different circumstances you encounter every day at work.

Team Development and Different Leadership Styles - A great deal of research has been published on team building and team development. Even though most of this research is purely academic and has been performed in a research environment rather than in the workplace, some of it does contain value for a working manager.

Controlling or Eliminating the Worst Interruptions - Are you plagued by the destructive nature of interruptions? Then these four simple interruption screens could help you perform more efficiently. Your effectiveness and success depends on your ability to apply and implement such screens that enable you to be productive without alienating your customers, team members or colleagues.

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