If you have the responsibility of managing a team then you may be aware of some challenges that are hindering your teams’ performance. Underdeveloped teams need to be addressed promptly before low morale and skills gaps turn into ‘runaway poor performance’, which in its extreme can result in a total breakdown of communication, where productivity, efficiency and innovation reach crisis point.

Many managers leave poor performance or under development unaddressed by simply thinking the problem will go away on its own or leave this up to the team themselves to sort. However, having tough conversations now, will inevitably save you time, mind and money in the long term.

There are numerous areas in which teams can teams can be underdeveloped. Here are a few:

Poor communication

Clarity is key here. For example, all team members need to understand their priorities and understand what they are being measured on.  A breakdown in communication can occur when the team leader is measuring something completely different to what the team member is prioritising.

Another problem that stems from poor communication is inconsistency of work quality and standards between members. Without clearly defining a way of working that each member of the team understands, each team member will operate on their own accord rather than that of a consistent standard.

Lack of shared goals / vision

Another key symptom of an underdeveloped team is lack of direction and end goal.

Without an over-riding shared vision to aim towards, each team member will try and steer things in their own direction of what they want and how they think thing should be- rather than that of the goal of the business.

The problem with this, is that it doesn’t matter how big or small your team is. It only takes one person to try and steer things in a different direction to cause conflict.

Taking the time to properly communicate both the short- and long-term vision for the business as a whole, helps make sure everyone is working with the same end-goal in mind and reduce conflicts of interest.

Lack of understanding (of each other)

The more you understand someone, the more likely you are to respect them, and remove any preconceptions or judgements. And therefore, the more likely you are to want to work with them.

If everyone in your team had more respect and less judgment towards each other, imagine how much more people would want to work together.

Taking the time to understand your team members on a deeper level is crucial to the long term success of your team. For this you can use techniques such as motivational and behavioural mapping to discover what drives a person, however even at a very basic level – just taking the time to find out more about your team members personally will help you build relationships and understand each other better.

Practical steps to improve an underdeveloped team

1. Mindset shift 

Believe it or not, your team need to take responsibility and ownership for their own actions. You job is to steer the ship in the right direction but not everything can fall on your shoulders. In order for a team to work delegation is required and this is where your team need to take ownership. At Robson Laidler we help business owners implement the OARBED model into working practices.

The OARBED model is split into what are known as ‘above the line’, and ‘below the line’ behaviours.

‘Above the line’ behaviours include Ownership, Accountability, and Responsibility (OAR).‘Below the line’ behaviours include Blame, Excuse, and Denial.

Every team should strive to adopt an above the line approach to everything they do. Below the line responses to situations sets a bad example for the rest of your team, and a poor personal standard for yourself.

For more practical steps on other ways you can improve your mindset and accelerator your business read our blog ‘How to Accelerate Business Growth During a Pandemic’. 


2. Organisational review 

Many businesses do not have clarity about their team’s defined roles and responsibilities. This often results in owners wearing too many ‘hats’, meaning little time is spent on the strategic or high-level activities that create real value for the business.

Conducting an organisational review helps ensure the right people are doing the right jobs within your business, so that you can spend more time focusing on growing your business.

Sometimes it takes somebody external to spot the inefficiencies in a business’s organisational structure. This is why Robson Laidler’s Business Accelerator team offer a full organisational review service.

3. Crystal clear communication

Clear communication is absolutely vital to the effectiveness and efficiency of any team. Without a clear and consistent approach to communication between all team members, it is easy for conflicts of various kinds to occur. Having a policy of transparency is key to the success of your team.

It is also important to make sure clear strategies are in place so that each team member knows what, and that any strategy changes are fully communicated to each team member. This ensures everyone is working towards the same end goal, which helps reduce conflicts caused over prioritisation.

4. Business health check diagnostic tools 

Our business health check tools will uncover areas in your business where you may be overwhelmed, understaffed or just need a little more strategy.

The Change Success analysis tool will help you prepare you for any changes you need to make in your business.  This tool helps identify and categorize areas in your ability to implement personal change. Reviewing these results for team members will help you identify steps that can be taken for improvement within teams and individuals.

And the Growth and Profit Diagnostic will show you where you rank in the 10 key areas of business, and where your strengths and weak spots are.

If you have identified some challenges within your team that requires further development, Robson Laidler’s Business Accelerator advisors can advise on what strategies may be best to focus on to get things back on track.  Please contact us for more info.