16 signs of an underperforming business team

If you’ve already got a perfect business team, there’s little point investing (money, time, energy) in training your team.

However, what if your team isn’t flawless?

What if performance gremlins are running amok and destroying…

  • Motivation
  • Productivity
  • Wellness
  • Talent magnetism (attraction and retention)
  • Teamwork

Worse still…

What if these hidden problems are robbing executives of their time and freedom? Or putting projects and the business at risk?

You’d want to know about those problems, wouldn’t you?

I know what you’re thinking…. “Of course I would Andrew, I’m a serious business leader.”


Well, here’s the good news…

In this post, I’m going to share the signs that are the hallmarks of underperforming teams. Look out for these signs and if you spot them in your team… you’ll know your business could be stronger… you’ll know your team can benefit from training.

(Aside: To make life easier – use our free automated report – this grades the performance of your team in 10 minutes. Grab it here)

Signs of an underperforming business team.

An underperforming business team is a group of employees who are not meeting expectations (the companies and their own). Here are sixteen signs that indicate an underperforming team.

1. Individuals not pulling their weight

Employees don’t provide the extra effort and resources necessary to move the company forward.

2. Company is not maxing out revenue per employee

The company is earning less than £180,000 per employee. (Aside: I don’t think revenue is all that matters, but you may do).

3. The business has a high turnover of talent.

Annual turnover varies between industries. Lower than 10% should be the goal. Whilst a turnover of <20% requires urgent investigation.

4. There is a lack of communication and collaboration

People work alone, rather than collaborate. People withhold important information and lessons from each other. Company does not learn lessons, and people repeat mistakes other have made.

5. Individuals do not take ownership of their work

Certain team members are not proactive about their work. People don’t seek to lead or run projects.

6. There is no sense of urgency to work.

7. Tension or conflict is present among team members

Employees bicker or blame each other when tasks go wrong. People struggle with empathy and seeing others’ perspectives.

8. Work is not completed in a timely manner

Projects seem to drag on and take forever to get over the finish line.

9. Poor morale

Rather than people being in love with the business. People are constantly looking for the emergency exit. (Aside: you might not know it!)

10. Lack of constructive debate and participation

Team struggle to brainstorm and constructively disagree. So people avoid conversation and hang back.

11. Inflexibility

The business lacks agility and is struggles to adapt quickly to changes in the market

12. Stagnation

The business is not innovating and finding new ways of doing things. Products, service, and marketing is not developing.

13. Team members are not growing

Rather than leap forwards and embrace new challenges, team members hide from growth opportunities.

14. People are distracted and struggle to focus

Due to lack of focus, people are not completing needle-moving projects in a timely fashion

15. Employees are overworking and at risk of burnout

16. Lack of accountability

People think they can get away doing whatever they like

Which negative signs do you recognise?

Now that you’ve familiarised yourself with the signs of an underperforming team, it’s time to go to the next stage…

Ask yourself….

“Are any of these problems relevant to my business?”

If “yes”

How are they affecting your business?

Are they limiting the growth of your business? Are they affecting your ability to keep the talent your business need? Is your business struggling with delivery and customer service? Do you feel that you’re always one step behind your rivals?

How are they affecting you, the leader?

Are you being consumed by the business? Are you missing out on time for loved ones, hobbies, and being healthy?

How are they affecting your team?

Are your team stressing more and working too hard because of these problems? Are they not developing their full potential like they wish they could? Are they failing to develop relationships with others at work? Are they missing out on the joy of competency(a basic human need)? Do they feel control, rather than empowered?

I know there are a lot of questions here for you to mull over. However, these are important questions. Why? Because everything your business does depends upon team performance (sales, marketing, innovation, delivery). Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to consider these vital questions.

In conclusion:

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

Steve Jobs

Whilst some of these symptoms might not seem important to you… or at least something you can live with…If you don’t attend to these symptoms of poor performance…

You risk undermining the long-term success of your team, and therefore your business.

After all, an underperforming business team can have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line and other KPIs, like team happiness, talent retention, and customer satisfaction.

So if you have team performance problems, don’t let things fester.

Instead, take a deep breath, summon your courage, accept the existence of these problems, and start doing something about them.

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