Leading Through Team Struggle: Spotting & Managing Signs

Insights: Managing Signs of “Struggle” in Teams

It’s R U OK Day. A day we are truly passionate about. People and people in teams create outcomes. Simple as a statement, complex in execution! Do you know how your team is performing and if so, how do you measure it, especially under stress? Do you know every person in your team, even your most remote employee who is an introvert working 17000km away in Dublin (approximately)? High performance teams create amazing outcomes, however everything needs to work like clockwork. For example, an average Formula 1 pit stop will take around 2 seconds and this is a mix of human talent and super fast tools. Great teams create amazing outcomes and it’s important to not allow pressure cooker environments to impact individual behaviour that will collectively derail your overall team!

“Alone we can do little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

High performing team models are the future of work

Has your team reached the point of dysfunction? An article by Christie Lindo, Forbes Coaches Council outlines Rebooting a Dysfunctional Team: Seven Things to Know” In this article Christie asks have you ever joined a team at work where, in the beginning, everything was fine? Then, you begin to realize that something is not quite right, but you are unable to articulate it. After all, the team is comprised of smart, intellectually capable people doing meaningful work. Team conversations are surface-level, interactions are cordial and brainstorming sessions are safe. Everyone is nice, yet you sense “other” conversations and decisions are being made without you — but you have no real evidence to justify this feeling. Then, something happens one day that validates your initial hypothesis, leading you to stop trusting the team.

Over time this lack of trust manifests into moments when you cannot wait to leave meetings, when you dread attending offsite workshops or when you quickly complete assigned tasks, just to stay as far away as you can. Great teams create a lifetime of friends, good memories, strong networks and higher performance. Dysfunctional teams, however, result in missed opportunities, irreparable relationships and damage to personal brands. It is common knowledge that high performing teams consistently outperform, are more profitable and result in increased employee engagement and retention. Here are seven things to keep in mind if you’re trying to reboot your dysfunctional team:

  • Teams are similar to marriages
  • Transforming a dysfunctional team starts with mindset
  • You should strive for progress, not perfection
  • Team cultural change takes time
  • Team members have to acknowledge the truth and buy into a change
  • Focus on building trust and creating unique rituals
  • Manage team member transitions to keep momentum and culture intact

Really “Listen” to your staff

My blog “The Best Bosses do these things differently” explored what makes a leader and why great and poor leadership can impact us. It all comes down to leadership; we know that the ‘best’ bosses get the most out of their staff and make them happier, but how do they do it? They do these five things through effective team leadership:

  • Treat Your Staff Like The Individuals They Are
  • Push The Purpose
  • Regularly Give Personalised Feedback
  • Encourage Collaboration And Discussion By Listening
  • Be Consistent In Your Leadership Style

Be consistent, champion your organisation’s purpose, give regular feedback and really listen to your staff. None of this is easy, but it’s what the best bosses do!

Leadership isn’t easy and sometimes we need help. I am always here.

Get in touch today to learn more about how to build leadership skills that focus on high performance team management and set yourself up for success!

Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.

Sonia x

About our Author Sonia McDonald and LeadershipHQ

Sonia McDonald is the CEO and founder of LeadershipHQ and McDonald Inc. Sonia is a in demand keynote speaker, award-winning author, leadership coach and advisor and facilitator.

She believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others. Also, she and her team have worked and partnered with a number of businesses and companies for over a decade build great leadership teams and cultures.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of Human Resources, Leadership and People and Culture. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

In turn, Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humour will enhance any event she appears.

She is an award-winning published author of Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow, advocating for women in business as well as building leaders in small business.

Sonia has become recognised for her work in the leadership space across the globe where she leads the Outstanding Leadership Awards as well as her work in her leading podcast and leadership channel where she celebrates and showcases great leaders and leadership.

About LeadershipHQ

Outstanding Leadership Starts with You.

The key to success today is Great Leadership. Your leaders lead your culture and it’s the culture which drives your strategy.

We partner with organisations and businesses to grow great, kind and courageous leaders through bespoke leadership development programs and individual and group coaching – face-to-face and online.

We also celebrate and showcase great leadership through our Outstanding Leadership Awards and the Just Lead Podcast.

If you are a great leader or organisation, who wants to be even greater, we’d love to work with you.

Great Leadership begins with us.

Phone 1300 719 665






brisbane | sydney | melbourne