The Costs of a Non-Functioning Team

The Costs of a Non-Functioning Team

The causes of a non-functioning team can vary, but regardless of the specific causes, it’s costing you more than you probably realize.

If your team is not yielding the expected results you have communicated to them; you have a non-functioning team.

At the foundation of a non-functioning team is unproductive behaviors. These behaviors may be easy to spot or may be more subtle, and they may occur often or every once in a while. Being aware and identifying the following unproductive behaviors is the first step in righting a non-functioning team.

6 Unproductive Behaviors

  • Lack of participation
  • Meeting after meetings
  • Gossiping
  • Lack of support of other team members 
  • Lack of effort
  • Lack of expected results

The above behaviors do not mean they aren’t working hard, it’s more of a matter of how often are they working productively?

If you have an 8-hour day and your team members are spending two hours gossiping after meetings, that’s unproductive and contributing to a non-functioning team. It can also be easy to correlate attitude and energy with productivity, but it’s about actions and performance at the end of the day.

Costs of a Non-Functioning Team

Similar to unproductive behaviors, the costs of a non-functioning team may seem obvious but aren’t always so. 

  1. Mental Health

Your employees are your most significant asset, and humans are complex. Gone are the days of assuming employees can leave everything at the door in their work and home environments. 

A non-functioning team can quickly infect the mental health of its members. Unsupportive team members, managers who don’t listen, a lack of opportunity to speak up, judgment, and gossip all affect individual mental health. If an employee doesn’t feel appreciated and heard, they will resort to unproductive behaviors and eventually leave. 

While not all team members may be the right fit for a team, it may also cost you some of your best performers because their office mental health concerns weren’t addressed.

  1. Bottom Line Results

The more obvious and literal cost of a non-functioning team is your bottom line. In addition to a lack of results or performance, you’re also potentially wasting money on an employee in an unproductive position. Can that employee turn their lack of productivity around with your support, or are they inhibiting a better fit for the functionality of the whole team?


So how do you prevent becoming a non-functioning team or get one back on track?


Pay Attention: Awareness of the team’s behaviors and their results is the first step. You need to identify and understand the source of these unproductive behaviors and address them quickly with the specific individuals or the team as a whole if it makes sense. Consistent one-on-ones is a great way to address concerns early on and privately. 

Own Up: Investigate without emotion the causes of these behaviors and own up to your role. Have you been supportive of your team with resources? Are you communicating effectively? Does everyone know what is expected of them? Are you modeling the behavior you want of them?

Team Dynamics: When team members change, so do the team’s dynamics. A well-functioning team can quickly become a non-functioning team with new members, and current members may distrust new hires or vice versa. Understand the impact of team changes and make sure you’re addressing concerns, questions, and expectations.

Similar to an illness, the longer you wait to address it, the longer it’s going to take to recover from it. Until you identify the cause of your non-functioning team and manage it, you’ll continue to have the same results you currently have.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” – Albert Einstein.

Are you currently managing a non-functioning team or want to learn more tips on how to prevent this? Connect with me for a free 15-minute assessment to see if your team could use a health boost to get back on track!

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