Teams are great. Well, at the least the idea of teams are great. As we all know, often a great idea can get lost in poor execution. One place where I see this all the time is in the workplace.

Let’s be honest, most companies like to envision their workforce as a “team.” After all, teams are supposed to be …

Unified
Effective
Productive

But, if you spend any time in the real world you will quickly find out that many “teams” in the workplace are hardly that. In fact, they are often the opposite.

Why is that?

Well, there are many reasons but I can tell you that from what I have seen there are at least a few things that will absolutely kill a “team” culture if allowed to continue. Here are three important ones.

1) Micromanaging – As I’ve said before, a good leader doesn’t micromanage. Micromanaging only frustrates your employees (followers) and exhibits your lack on confidence in their abilities. If you need to always micromanage someone to make sure they get “it” right then just fire them. You’ll both be better off. 

That being said, you also can’t allow a team culture where employees are allowed to micromanage each other. Your design guy doesn’t need to get his ear chewed off by the human resources girl and your sales executive doesn’t want to hear how he can “close” better from the receptionist. This type of cross-micromanagement is simply not helpful and even toxic.

Let your team know that they were all hired to fill certain roles and you will worry about taking care of things if those roles are not being carried out effectively.

2) Hot Potato – Did you ever play hot potato as a kid? It’s a real simple game with a simple rule. You don’t want to get stuck with the potato.

When leaders allow employees (or themselves) to have a “hot potato” mindset they put another nail in the team culture coffin. Simply put, a good team member doesn’t only worry about not getting stuck with the job.

Too often you see this happen where one employee (or boss) pushes work off on to the next guy as quickly as possible because it’s not technically on their list of responsibilities without any thought of making sure the next guy is set up for success. Now while you don’t want employees trying to micromanage each other you also don’t want them playing this type of game leaving each team member feeling like they have to always fend for themselves.

It’s simple. If you have the opportunity to help another coworker out by going the extra mile you should. That’s what teams do. They work for the common good and seek to see everyone succeed. If you don’t do this you shortchange your teammates and show them a blatant lack of respect at the same time.

3) Small Picture Mindset – Here’s the thing. Any successful company has a big picture mindset. It’s not just about sales. It’s about retention, service, referrals, and so on. If you allow yourself to only focus one part of the company you do so at the risk of destroying other parts. Your employees need to have the same perspective.

A team culture will suffer greatly if employees only focus on their part of puzzle. Your team needs to realize that everyone has responsibilities, expectations, and deadlines. A good team member doesn’t say, “As long as I get this done by I’m good.” Rather they say, “I need to get this done by ___ but if I want to help my team have the best chance of success I really need to get this done by ___.”

In other words, they approach their job with a big picture mindset balancing their needs and demands with the greater good of the team.

These are just 3 common problems I have seen in many work environments. There are of course many more but if you plug these holes you are well on your way to building a “team” culture that will survive and thrive.