Common Pitfalls for High Performing Teams and How to Avoid Them

When a team is not working effectively,  people often tend to focus on the “troublemakers”: Those that do not seem to fit well with the group, or are seen as being the cause of the problem. However, rather than taking this approach, why not begin thinking “what can change?” If you want to improve your team, it starts with reflecting on yourself. 

Pause and Reflect

When faced with problems on a team, if we do not pause to consider how we are reacting, and how we are contributing to these problems, very little can be expected to change. It is very common to blame or criticise others, become defensive, or try to avoid the issue altogether. These are all natural, but very ineffective, responses. It’s crucial to develop self-awareness and take personal responsibility, in order to tackle a problem. Understand how your own subjective beliefs, values, and emotions are affecting how you respond to the situation, especially in times of confrontation or challenge.

If we do not pause, we are liable to be victims of the fundamental attribution error. We naturally tend to believe that when things go well for us, it is due to our own internal reasons (“I succeeded because I worked hard”) and negative outcomes are due to external reasons (“I wasn’t well prepared for that meeting because my team didn’t support me enough and didn’t give me enough information”). However, we often see it the other way around for others: Positive outcomes are external (“they succeeded because they were lucky”) and negatives are internal (“they weren’t prepared for the meeting because they’re lazy”). If we are not aware of these natural biases, it can cause a lot of frustration and stop us from seeing that the different perspectives of others are equally valid.

Change the Viewing to Change the Doing

Change starts from within an individual. If we wait for others to change in order to improve our situation, we may be waiting a long time!  A shift in how we view things is the most important step in impacting behaviours, and changes in behaviours will lead to different outcomes. As the saying goes, if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. Take a different perspective, not just the one that comes automatically.

Too many organisations leave change or creating a culture to chance. Great cultures and effective teams are designed intentionally.


At KinchLyons, we specialise in developing high performing teams. We use a range of psychometric assessments, including one we’ve developed and now distribute globally. Contact us if you’re interested in maximising your team’s strengths and transforming the way your team operates!

Email or call (01) 2788 727.