Soft pitfalls for a Growth team

Last Updated on February 7, 2022 by justin

We at Growth Hackers have noticed that many times social and psychological factors are crucial for the successful application of the agile way of working. This article addresses the “soft” pitfalls for growth teams and how you can avoid them.

Sometimes it can feel like the team has all the prerequisites (eg competence, budget and trust from management) but that something is “across the board” nonetheless. It can then be about so-called artificial harmony in your team. This is characterized by a lack of trust and motivation, avoidance of responsibility and a fear of conflicts.

Warning signs:

  • Resistance to method: It is often based on a feeling of lost control and lack of confidence. Clear signs of this are: distancing (physically and mentally), depression, criticizing everything from method, delivery and / or individuals.
  • Lack of motivation: Individuals do not take responsibility for their tasks. The quality of deliveries deteriorates. Individuals focus on their own agenda, for their own gain.
  • Limited openness and communication: The team avoids challenging and questioning each other. Individuals do not anchor decisions or approaches with the remaining members of the team. Members rarely ask each other for help.

How can we prevent this?

The method / method:

Whether it is a newly started team or a more experienced one, understanding is required. In a new team, make sure to consolidate the working method – both premises and advantages of the method. In the start-up phase, everyone should have the opportunity to question and discuss. It is common for us humans to show resistance to change in general – aka. Status quo bias. We perceive change from what we already know as a loss in some way. Show understanding that this approach is new and give your team the opportunity to build trust in the method.

Sometimes when we have done something for a very long time, we forget why we do it a certain way. In an experienced team, it may sometimes be necessary to return to the method. Review and reflect on what works and what works less well.

It is important to give the team the opportunity for freedom within the structure and framework of the Growth process. Be careful about delegating and giving orders. This can be perceived as a threat to individuals’ autonomy – which is directly detrimental to motivation.

Make the team understand that you trust them. That their presence and competence is a prerequisite for the project to succeed.


Nothing has such a big effect on our motivation as setting goals and conveying a vision. It’s not harder than constantly returning to both your Sprint Goals and your north star metric. Try to clarify what is expected of individuals in the team. Clear out any misconceptions associated with it. Confirm that EVERYONE is contributing to goal fulfillment and make them feel it. This relates to Goal Setting Theory – which emphasizes that clarity in goals is crucial to our motivation to carry out an action. This can also remedy individuals doing things only for their own gain, which is often based on uncertainty about a common goal.

Openness & Communication:

Encourage reflection – on both failures and successes in the project. Address the standards that help or upset your team. On these occasions, everyone should have a say. No one should be allowed to have a critical opinion without sharing it with the team.

Also, do not be afraid to ask your team for feedback on your own behavior. Laszlo Bock (former head of People analytics at Google) believes that this is essential for effective leadership. “Can you name one thing that I do not do at the moment that you wish I would do in the future?” Such a question signals and confirms that it is okay to be vulnerable and ask for help, as well as the fact that you value everyone’s input. Also remember to respond to feedback in a good way, to really listen. Leaders who do not listen to their team will eventually be surrounded by individuals who have nothing to say.

Read more: