Office Politics – A Team Dysfuntion
I had them trapped!
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Well, not really, I was leading a breakout session at the Chesapeake Human Resource Association’s Spring Conference (@ChesapeakeHRA). There were about 120 HR professionals attending my session. At one point in my presentation, I asked them to describe a highly effective team. What are the attributes and attitudes that these team members possess that allow them to deliver exceptional results?
This is what they came up with:
A Great Team
Then I asked them what are the attitudes and attributes that best describe an average team.
An Average Team
Keeping the Status Quo
Just Doing the Basics
Not Having Fun
No Real Leadership
I shared my hypothesis with the attendees. When a great team takes on a project they deliver exceptional results. An average team will deliver average results on the same project due to team dysfunction. My point here is that team dysfunction (office politic) causes lower productivity.
I asked the attendees to take a quick two question survey.
Question one, what percentage of productivity is lost due to team dysfunction?
Question two, how much does this impact corporate culture (a little, medium, or a lot)?
48 of the attendees took the survey.
Eleven of the attendees thought that team dysfunction cost the organization 70% in lost productivity. Overall the group guesstimated the impact of team dysfunction was 57%.
73% of the group thought team dysfunction had a large negative impact on the organization’s culture. With only 27% thinking there would be a medium impact. No one thought that team dysfunction had a low impact on the culture.
These findings are not scientific but are instructive. This data came from HR professionals that are on the front lines every day. When we allow team dysfunction to go unaddressed we pay dearly in lost productivity, lost revenue and higher costs. Additionally, it undermines the corporate culture that leads to our best people leaving.
All of this creates a downward spiral that becomes harder to turn-around the longer we allow it to exist.