Only 23% of employees say their team is effective, so what’s wrong?

Posted on March 23, 2021
Only 23% of employees say their team is effective, so what’s wrong?

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Digital Age upon us, it is clear that teams are becoming the organizational structure of choice.

Developing adaptive and effective teams has become a source of both collective intelligence and competitive advantage. While 92 per cent of employees believe teams are important for organizational success, only 23 per cent believe their teams to be very effective. (2014 Human Capital Institute). Are you struggling to effectively lead your team? Wondering how to improve the effectiveness of your team? Do you need team tools and processes to enable your team to become higher performing and meet their goals?

Team effectiveness can be defined by the following:

  1. The task output meets or exceeds the needs of the team’s client(s) and stakeholders
  2. The team becomes an increasingly capable performing unit over time
  3. Members’ personal learning and growth are fostered by their experiences in the team

It is critical that we have the essential conditions that influence the team’s processes and contribute to team effectiveness.

The Essentials

  1. Real Team
    • Bounded: members know who and who is not on the team
    • Stable – members stay together long enough to learn how to work together
    • Interdependent for common purpose – interaction and sharing resources
  1. Right People
    • Team has the right skills (including teamwork skills) to do the work and diversity that brings a range of perspectives needed to perform creatively and well.
  1. Compelling Purpose
    • Purpose is challenging, clear and consequential (has meaningful impact on others). Orients and motivates team members so they are headed in the same direction, even when not working in the same place at the same time.

The Enablers

  1. Sound Structure
    • Team norms – clear ground rules for how members will work together
    • Team size – neither too big to coordinate nor too small to have the resources they need
    • Task design – team performs work that makes sense to be done by a team and that allows members to use their judgment and experience to complete it.
  2. Supportive Context
    • Organization’s structures and systems promote rather than prevent teamwork
    • Rewards and recognition – organization pays for and celebrates team performance
    • Resources and training are readily available
  3. Team Coaching
    • Someone is paying attention to the team’s processes and intervenes at helpful moments


Michelle Chambers photoMichelle Chambers is the facilitator for the Schulich ExecEd’s Building High Performing Teams & Collaborative Cultures (starting April 14). This three-day program will show you more about building high performing teams, supporting them as a team leader and coach, and provide valuable tools that you can use to improve your team’s effectiveness in building trust, making decisions and improving processes.