Fear the project success

In the beginning of Team Spirit I mentioned that the manager feels embarrassed and not prepared when people behave like a team. This article explains the reasons behind this vague feeling.

Often the manager perceives the team as his own extension, as a tool in his toolset. When people behave like a team, they demonstrate another identity that does not match the image that the manager has for this team. So the manager perceives this behaviour as a change.

At the time of change, we often feel insecure. The insecurity generates fear. The small fear of today becomes big tomorrow and don’t allow us to continue afterwards. The groundless fear generates destructive behaviour. So the fear deserves special attention.

Talking about fears is uncomfortable. No hurry. First a recap:

  1. We realized how the managers see the team.
  2. We saw relations between teams and society.
  3. We investigated how comes the team spirit.
  4. We will discuss soon what comes after the high performing phase of the team and how to create this new reality.

Before to go deeper in the Economy Of Teams, we need to accept our fears and thus work on their elimination so to manage the resistance. Your resistance 🙂

  • For managers: First we need to analyze the risks. Meanwhile let’s assess how relevant they are, so to mitigate the risk the fear to makes them look bigger.
  • For non managers: we can eliminate the not relevant fears of the manager and bring the risks’ perception back on the ground.

Basic Management Fear:

The team can leave the company in the middle of the project. As their manager I lose.

Worst case scenario: My business is gone!

What would you do? Divide et impera? Think twice!

Why does this fear emerge? When a team is so good in its work, self organized and takes responsibility for its development, the manager realizes sadly that the success of his enterprise is in the hands of the team…

Actual Risk:

The team is not motivated to continue working for the manager.

Why is it not a new risk? Certainly this risk exists and is as valid as it is valid in any organization. The difference is that we are talking here about a Goal Oriented Team. The manager provides to the team a common goal. The Team strives to reach this goal. So the manager must give them a really good reason to leave the project in the middle of its lifespan. So just don’t do it!

To understand how not to give reasons to the real team to leave your project, we need to go deeper with a root cause analysis.

Root cause analysis: Since the team concept is not popular in the discussions for staff turnover, it would be better off to start with the root causes analysis at personal level. Then we can look for analogy at team level.

There is plenty of blogs with negative feedback from leaving employees, the social network explodes on this topic. Here we have some potential reasons an experienced professional to leave his current job:

Potential reason 1: Low job satisfaction. It could be lack of match between skills and assignment. Mitigation plan: on strategic level review if the roles are well defined and if right roles are assigned to each individual; on tactical level ensure that the work assignments correspond to the assignees’ capabilities. In short: put the right people at the right place.

Potential reason 2: The project / company vision (or the lack of it).  If the goals are not crystal clear, the stakes are much higher than a team. The solution is to share your vision with the team. To do this, you must already have vision, strategy and justification why the organization is the way it is. Certainly it is not the easiest thing to do but is a great opportunity: when you share with people who care, you get plenty of ideas on how to improve.

Potential reason 3: Low satisfaction from the relations with the manager. If you proceed as described above, this risk decreases. Still there might be multiple different root causes.

Firstly micromanagement and authoritarian. We (the managers) shall not underestimate team’s capabilities but rather observe how they develop in the time. Let them decide in their sphere of competence… and one step higher.

Second the lack of management responsibility, the so-called chaos. The one who brought the chaos can hardly handle its resolution. I leave the case without comment.

Another root cause might relate to recognition. Are you always the one who must reap where the team has sown?

Potential reason 4: Low satisfaction from the relationships with other parties. Well, the alignment of the different parties is an organizational concern. As mentioned earlier the manager shall provide a clear justification why the organization is set up the way it is. The justification is based on a clear description on what the organization is expected to be. If you still see a risk, start with an open discussion with your team/s.

Potential reason 5: Low satisfaction from the relationships with new comer. Really? Recap: Team cohesion. Hard to enter in the team. Hard to release a team member. Think twice if the new comer in the team is the solution that you are searching for your problem.

Potential reason 6: The salary. Oh, this one is easy! It is not the fault of the team, it is not your fault, this is the market fault. So what to do? If you wish to change your reality, “just” do something to influence the team or better to the market.

There are much more risks on the road. Now I let you go ahead by yourself.

What else can we do to decrease suspicions? Talk with the team. Not sure you can trust this team? Now you see the actual root cause of your problem: you don’t feel you are part of this team. What a trivial risk, isn’t it?

If you would like to foster your cooperation with the team, think about the following: how to grow your business through the next project and how to set this project as the next challenging goal for the team.

What other fears do you find?

Other Publications on Economy of Teams™: