Use a matrix to assess your underperforming team

by Kayla Crum on Mar 7, 2024

Good leaders can tell when something on their team is amiss. The more difficult task is determining the nature of the problem. If both profits and morale are down, it can be hard to know which came first. You want to attack the root of the problem to achieve lasting solutions, but first you must figure out what that root is.

According to Forbes, results-oriented leaders are rated as “good” 14% of the time, while people-oriented leaders are rated as “good” 12% of the time. In contrast, leaders with a dual focus on both results and relationships are rated as “good” 72% of the time by their team

The solution is found not in one approach or the other, but in the interplay between the two. We’ve created a matrix to help leaders assess where their team falls on this spectrum of a results or relationships focus. To identify your tendencies and learn how you can improve, read more about each category below.


Connected Underperformance

Teams that have high relationship satisfaction but mediocre or low productivity have a dynamic of “Connected Underperformance.” Leaders of this type of team may know each team member on a personal level, spend a lot of time conducting one-on-ones, and devote budgetary resources to group outings or mental health support systems.

All of these choices stem from good intentions. But if they are not accompanied by action and follow-through on business objectives, the team will lag when it comes to productivity and profit. Team members need to know that their leader is capable, trustworthy, and decisive before they can give a task their all.

Think about military leaders and sports coaches. They are not effective if they primarily function as their team’s friend. Instead, they make tough calls when necessary based on their expertise and motivate their team to get the job done.


In contrast, “Draconian” teams have great business results but poor relationships among team members. On these types of teams, leadership takes a cutthroat approach, prioritizing profit above all else. This may manifest as a culture of overtime and poor work-life balance that is praised by leadership. It may also mean employees get let go quickly if they can’t meet productivity expectations.

The downside of this approach is its finitude. Due to the intense working conditions, teams that prioritize only results experience high burnout and high attrition. Coupled with the increased tendency to fire people, this level of turnover means leadership orients new employees constantly. Teams are never able to achieve their highest levels of success because they are unable to learn how they all work best together as a unit.

Another risk of this approach lies in a damaged company reputation. Job sites and social media feeds are full of former employees disparaging their former bosses and companies, warning others that the working environment isn’t worth it.

High Risk

“High Risk” teams don’t have a good grasp on either results or relationships. Leaders of these teams are either inexperienced, conflict-averse, or both. Team members may have decent interpersonal skills and average business savvy, but without a trustworthy, capable leader, their potential for growth in these areas goes to waste.

Apathy towards work goals and emotional disconnection are markers of this type of team. High Risk teams are also the most likely to be dismantled and reassigned to other leaders within the company.

A-Teams: The Goal

The goal is to manage a team that excels at both relationships and results. We call this an “A-Team.” A-Teams perform well among market competitors and operate from a basis of trust and fulfillment with their colleagues.

Leaders of A-Teams strike the tricky balance between emotional connection and productivity expectations. They are able to exude authority without being cold, and can call out unwanted behavior without permanent damage to a relationship. A-Team leaders have the respect of their team and are able to motivate them to achieve lasting success.

At Teamalytics, we’ve helped leaders reach this goal for three decades. If you’re interested in transforming your dysfunctional team into an A-Team, download our guide “Building A-Teams: Balancing Results and Relationships for Long-Term Success” today.