Working in a Team-Based Culture is Hard Work for Team Leaders

A team-based culture is the best type of organizational structure in my opinion, but you have to make sure you understand the disadvantages when you are starting out — it’s definitely not a panacea. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. And being a team leader is really hard work. To take advantage of the positives, you need to be aware of the disadvantages so you can mitigate problems before they happen.

Here are some disadvantages that you, as a team leader, must keep in mind:

  • Meetings, Meetings and More Meetings — Teams are made up of groups of people (no secret here!) which requires that they get together often to discuss team business. Provide them with the training they need so their meetings will be more than a gathering of people.
  • Long Decision-Making Process — When one person makes all the decisions, it can be done in a heartbeat. When several people are required to provide input and discuss the pros and cons before making a decision, it can take some time. Equip your teams with decision-making tools so that the process is not agonizing for them.
  • Productivity Will Dip Before It Peaks — Things around your company will be very different when it is all team-based. After you begin your journey, you may wonder why you started a team-based organization in the first place! Be patient, the gains will come — and typically they will be big gains.
  • Chaos Can Happen — Ensure that your organization is really ready to provide the infrastructure and support needed by teams to accomplish their work. If the organization merely calls a work group a team and doesn’t provide critical training and support, you’ll have a major mess on your hands.

What do you think are other disadvantages of creating a team-based culture?

Denise O'Berry

Denise O’Berry — aka the Team Doc — has been working with teams and team leadership in the public, non profit and private sectors for over twenty years. She gets a lot of joy from working with teams and their leadership to help them improve and work through team issues. Not only does her advice come from the heart, it comes from years of experience working as a team member, team leader, manager and owner of her own company. She has truly walked in your shoes and offers help so you can be a better team leader. You can find more advice from Denise at her website Ask Team Doc and don't forget to follow her on Twitter @deniseoberry.

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  • KareAnderson

    The disadvantages are most likely to happen in the transition to a team-based culture as savvy you well known. The change can be scary, especially when just one person on a team does not appear to do their part. What helps are specific rules of engagement that the organization recommends for teams and that each new team establishes their own. Those boundaries give safety, accountability and thus the room to grow into team behavior. BTW I thoroughly enjoy your posts as they provide a practical and inspirational building block to my work on connective conversation and on collaboration. Thank you!


    Denise O'Berry Reply:

    @KareAnderson, Thanks for your compliment. I appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback. I agree that team operating guidelines are one of the keys to success for a team. One of the neat things is that development of those guidelines — as a team — helps bring the team together as they start their journey.


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