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Entries from September 2018

3 signs that your team is not aligned

26th September 2018


Ultimately the effectiveness of any team is judged by the results they achieve. So if you’re not getting the results you want, the chances are your team is misaligned in some way.

When we are in the team it can be hard to spot when there is misalignment, so in an effort to provide you with some clues, here are 3 things to look for:


Healthy conflict in a team is good and necessary to be able to challenge each other and make effective decisions. However, when unhealthy conflict occurs it get’s in the way of healthy discussion and effective relationships. Based on the work of John Gottman, here are signs that will tell you there is unhealthy conflict in your team:

  • Criticism – This can come in the form of blaming or aggressive attacks on others. It may start with a complaint, which is great, if it’s focused on the issue. It becomes criticism when some negativity about anothers personality is added.
  • Defensiveness – Although it’s understandable to defend yourself when someone complains, or is critical, it doesn’t help. It can look like deflection, not being open to influence or excuses. In effect you’re saying, “it’s not me”.
  • Stonewalling – You’ll notice stonewalling when you see or hear avoidance, uncooperativeness, withholding information, disengagement and potentially yes men and women.
  • Contempt – This is the most damaging of these four behaviours because it conveys disgust and can take quite some time to repair. You’ll notice it through the following behaviours; sarcasm, cynicism, sneering, eye rolling, cutting others down, hostile gossip, demeaning communication and disrespect.

Lack of Commitment

There can be no internal cohesion (alignment) without commitment and collective accountability. An absence of this can result in members of the team heading in different directions resulting in wasted time, energy and poor results. Here are some signs that can indicate a lack of commitment:

  • Low moral in the team or an individual over a period of time
  • Energy fades or there is a lack of energy
  • High turnover in the team or a particular department

Communication problems

Yes that old chestnut! No matter how well you think you communicate people will always tell you they want more. This is not about the volume of communication it is about the style and effectiveness of the communication. So here are some clues that you may need to address this topic:

  • Lack of transparency about a situation when confidentiality is not an issue
  • Conflicting needs and demands e.g. stakeholders don’t share the same agenda, teams have different priorities or priorities are not clear
  • Lack of initiative to make things happen or get involved
  • Lack of cooperation – sub teams don’t communicate or share information

The Good News

The good news is you can do something about all of these scenarios and it’s relatively straightforward to fix. All it needs is an investment of time and your own commitment.

If you’d like some help aligning your team feel free to email me and set up a free discovery call.

Empowering the individual when there is relatively low level of alignment worsens the chaos and makes managing the team more difficult.

Peter Senge

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