While 67 percent of SMB leaders say it's important to build teams and 80 percent say they try to create teams of high performers, just 31 percent describe their own teams as "effective," according to the results of a recent Paycor survey of 1,100 business leaders at U.S. companies with 50-750 employees.
Similarly, while 80 percent of respondents say managing conflict is important, less than a third say they manage team conflict well.
"Building an effective, high-performance team doesn't stop at just hiring the right people, but carries on with coaching and development that helps the team continue to learn and grow together, while solving today's complex business challenges," Paycor CHRO Karen Crone said in a statement.
The survey found a widespread bias towards the idea of creating an "all-star team," but Paycor suggests that might not be the best idea, since all-stars aren't always the best team players.
"Type A high performers can bring a degree of competitiveness to their work that is counterproductive, especially in a multidisciplinary team setting in which the team is working on a complex problem," the report states. "And to some extent, the very idea of a 'superstar' presumes that the person defines themselves by standing out from the crowd."
Optimistic about the future
Still, SMBs in general are optimistic about their prospects. A separate Alibaba survey of U.S. SMBs found that 62 percent of respondents think the economy is gaining momentum or on its way up. Just four percent of respondents think the economy is at risk of a downturn.
Forty-six percent of respondents expect their online B2B businesses to increase in volume, and 27 percent of those expect an increase of 25 percent or more.
In response, 57 percent of respondents have hired employees to support their online B2B buying and selling.
Respondents are globalizing, with 59 percent of respondents conducting some cross-border trade. Key benefits of doing so, according to respondents, include more customers and more choice in suppliers (50 percent), revenue growth (47 percent), and increased profit margins (41 percent).
"Strong SMB confidence among American business owners and entrepreneurs, plus the growth from digitizing of their business and doing business globally, means the future is bright for U.S. SMBs," Alibaba Group head of North American B2B John Caplan said in a statement.
"Less than one third of businesses we surveyed have been doing business online for more than five years," Caplan added. "That means there is an enormous opportunity for U.S. SMBs to digitize and grow their businesses globally with ease."