Skip to main content

Don't give up early on team efforts

iStockPhoto/iStockPhoto

Too often, managers give up early on struggling teams, says consultant Art Petty. On his Leadership Caffeine blog, he says his experience with IT projects, in particular, shows that it takes time for the team to learn what it needs about the challenge it faces, and to develop the teamwork needed to prevail. Thus it might erroneously seem the team is failing or has failed.

Mr. Petty offers five signals that a team deserves more time:

Team members don't point fingers or make excuses: Usually there is an inverse correlation between finger-pointing and success.

Story continues below advertisement

They are distressed about the failure: If team members go beyond fear or embarrassment to be genuinely angry that they failed, it's a good sign.

They are adopting an Apollo 13 mentality: If the team is developing a "failure is not an option" attitude, that's another good sign.

They still want external validation: You don't want to irrationally pursue a no-longer valid objective. But if the original intent is still valid according to customers and the market, you may want to consider granting more time for the team.

They are hungry for insights: Instead of developing a bunker mentality and turning inward, the team recognizes the need for outside help and is pursuing it.

"Sometimes, good performance is just a bit further down the road. Don't discount how critical it is to give good people time to gel on big projects," Mr. Petty concludes.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.