6 signs of a corporate team you don’t want to be part of (Blog #42)

It never seizes to amaze me how much the importance of building an effective team is down played in the corporate world.

There’s this assumption that it somehow happens on its own. It never tends to be the number one priority of a company. And way too often you’ll hear managers say “We need to focus on the work as without the work we won’t have a company.” But without a team that is totally focused on the good of the company, the amount of work brought in can almost be a bit of a lost cause.

Only once in my corporate life did I truly feel like I was part of an actual team and, as you know, that all happened in job #8. But, as you also know, my whole blogging purpose is to talk about the things you’ll experience in the corporate world — what to look out for. And the truth is that there’s a much bigger chance that the team experiences you’ll have in the corporate world, won’t be that of a true team experience. In fact, most will be a pale comparison of what it really means to be in a team and it’ll look something like this.

6 signs of a corporate team you don’t want to be part of:

  1. It’s full of politics — Basically, rarely will people say what they really think. Their words will be chosen based on the reactions they want people in the group to have. So, whatever words make the manager and the team members happy. “Sure, we can do what you’re asking for, even though I think the idea is so sh**!” The focus is on avoiding conflict instead of what’s good for the company.
  2. Vulnerability doesn’t exist — You won’t catch people saying “I need help with this” or “I made a mistake with this.” People are too busy trying to come off as perfect. Manager included!
  3. Your so called “team” is more like a collection of individuals — Rarely are things discussed out in the open as a whole team. In fact, most of the discussions happen one-on-one between a manager and a team member or between 2 team members. And people are far more interested on how well they can do individually as oppose to how well they can do as a team.
  4. There’s a strong sense of false harmony — What do I mean? Rarely is there conflict but, as a result, there’s a lot of tension. A lot of unhappy people not saying what they really want to say. The harmony is there only because people hold back and don’t say what they really feel.
  5. You’re led to believe that your “team” includes only those working directly in your area and everyone else in the company isn’t included — Basically, you’re made to feel like you need to protect yourself from other departments and their managers. This is usually the result of your manager’s influence on you and the way they deal with and talk about other managers within the company.A quick example just for you. And we flash back to job #5, which was my first stint with government. My manager on my first day told me not to make any phone calls in the presence of one my colleagues that was in another team but sat directly behind me. And would warn me about speaking with other managers and to be very careful about what I said. I WAS DOING A MARKETING JOB FOR GOD SAKES!! Nothing about it was criminal but apparently things needed to be on the hush hush. How ridiculous!
  6. There’s a major lack of commitment within the team — This is usually a result of people’s opinions not being heard and the outcome… people feeling as though they’re not part of the team. Thus, not really caring if the results come in or not.

And it can look something like this… flashing back to job #9. The whole marketing team is called in for a meeting to review the marketing plan for the year. The finalised version that is due to be presented to the Board of Directors the next day. For at least 50% of us this is the first time we are seeing this plan and we get asked “What do you think?” Like our manager even cared? If he cared about what we thought we would’ve been involved in the planning stage and not 5 minutes before it’s handed to the Board. So, how much do you think we cared if the plan was successful or not? Care factor = 0.

Blog #42 — To really get a good understanding of all things I’ve talked about with you today you should check out Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. It’s one of the books Kristen Hadeed recommended in her book “Permission To Screw Up” and provides an excellent everyday example of how all of this can take shape in the corporate world.

What did you think about blog post #42?

Can you relate to any of the things I’ve spoken about above? Is there anything else you’d add to the list?

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post — please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world — subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs TODAY and get your FREE 7-Day Mini Course — Work Culture Issues: The things that will do your head in daily and the reasons behind it. What companies will never speak to you about!

I’ll see you next week.


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Originally published at www.10years9jobs.com on November 10, 2017.