— March 7, 2018
A productive marketing team does not exist in a bubble. Strong marketing teams are often well-integrated with the rest of the office, working with sales teams, web developers, and even with executives.
But what happens when the team in charge of communications fails to communicate? A team that is struggling with team collaboration can be costly for any company, and can even negatively impact revenue. 86% of employees surveyed by ClearCompany considered that lack of collaboration was the number one cause of workplace failures.
Here are some symptoms that might be a sign that your team is collaborating poorly, and some tips to help heal the team spirit.
1. Communication within or between teams is failing.
Poor communication can be one of the first symptoms (and causes) of poor team collaboration. If you notice an increasing number of cliques or growing workplace gossip, this may be a sign of hidden frustration that employees are struggling to express. Taken to its extreme, failure to communicate can lead to workplace bullying or exclusion of group members, which may cause low productivity among team members.
Good communication practices stem from leadership; managers should organize weekly meetings for teams so that members can voice concerns and address problems openly. When collaborating with two groups – for example, marketing and sales – team leads should meet privately and consistently to make sure both teams are working toward the same goals.
2. Your office experiences high turnover.
Sourcing and training new talent can be costly. If you notice an exodus of your top employees, it may be a sign of dysfunction in the office.
Create an exit interview process to find out what made employees leave. Maybe the pay rates aren’t competitive, or the office culture is not conducive to professional growth. You will only know if you ask. In the future, implement consistent one-on-one meetings with your team to open lines of communication and address personal challenges as they arise.
3. Creativity has plummeted.
A high-performing marketing team is continually producing new content. However, if productivity or content quality has suddenly decreased, it might be the symptom of a deeper problem.
If leaders chastise employees for disagreeing with the group, a team might fall into toxic patterns of “Groupthink” that leave little room for creativity. Other causes of a creative lapse might be a workload imbalance or a silo, which leaves one or two employees feeling like they do all of the work.
Create a set of rules that govern how projects are divided and discussed between teams. Remind team members that collaboration is most effective when individuals debate ideas in an honest and open environment; it is not always necessary to agree, but disagreements should be expressed respectfully.
4. Team members are avoiding responsibility for problems.
The blame game never ends well. Unfortunately, the tendency to avoid accountability for issues that arise is a problem that stems from company leadership.
If team members are looking for excuses to explain a missed deadline or a poorly performing marketing campaign, it may be time to confront the accountability issue head-on. Meet with individual team members and re-establish team values. Encourage company leadership to model accountability to create change from the top down.
5. Teams are holding grudges.
Conflict is inevitable when people work on a team. However, if people are harnessing resentment, collaboration will suffer.
When managing a team, it is your responsibility to help resolve conflicts quickly and decisively. Invest in team building exercises that help your employees express their frustrations openly, to prevent workplace gossip and cliques that close the doors of communication.
Your marketing team represents the outward face of your company. If team members are struggling to communicate with each other, with their manager, or with another team, the results will show quickly.
Leaders have the responsibility to lead by example, showing employees how to solve problems and create spaces for dialogue. A culture of collaboration comes from the top, so make sure you show your organization what it means to be accountable, to respect others’ opinions, and to openly voice your concerns as soon as they arise.