How Healthy Is Your Project Team?
As a project manager, some of our greatest joys come in coaxing more than the sum of the whole out of the individuals that make up our teams. Likewise, some of our greatest frustrations come from the recognition that our teams should have delivered more: more value in less time with fewer headaches.
Most people would freely accept that healthy teams will outproduce dysfunctional teams, but it can be tempting to feel helpless in the face of a negative organizational culture. Should we surrender to victimhood, or are we able to rise above and offer hope for a brighter future?
Our teams often function as a microcosm of the organizations they reside within, especially those that are truly cross-functional and cut across multiple departments, verticals or business units. It’s helpful to have a framework to assess the health of our teams, but as project managers we can and should be looking to improve the health of our teams after we assess them. Our results (and reputation!) often depend on it.
In Patrick Lencioni’s seminal book The Advantage, he summarizes the results of his research and observation and defines healthy organizations as those that "include minimal politics and confusion, high degrees of morale and productivity, and very low turnover among good employees.”
Let’s consider how we can assess and improve our teams in each of those
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