Now is a good time to make good on your 2018 work resolution to improve your team by turning the saboteurs into loyalists.
The new year brings with it the opportunity for change, growth, and renewal. We commit to accomplishing new goals or resolve to finally complete old ambitions. Most of us feel more optimistic at the beginning of the year. New Year’s resolutions are expected. Gym memberships go through the roof in January. The “fresh start” feel of each new year is infectious.
What if we could start over with our teams as well? What if we could take the old patterns of dysfunction, of gossip and infighting, or cliques and politics of 2017, and turn them into high-performing team behaviors in 2018? Toxic teams destroy employee morale and engagement, stifle creativity, and put personal agendas above team or company goals.
So, how do you reset with your team? Follow these four steps:1) Diagnose the current state of your team. You need to know what’s working and what’s not on your team before you do a full reset. Start your diagnosis by identifying the type of team you currently have. From our research, we know all teams can be categorized into one of the following four team types:
- Saboteur Teams: The worst of the worst – team hell. Distrust, politics, infighting, and gossip are hallmarks of Saboteur Teams. Win-lose thinking and survival tactics take precedence over shared goals.
- Benign Saboteur Teams: What team? These risk-averse groups are characterized by lack of interaction, support, and alignment. Typical characteristics include a “you stay in your lane while I stay in mine” mentality. While team members don’t actively hurt one another, they don’t do much to help, either.
- Situational Loyalist Teams: Good, but not great teams. Pockets of trust, collaboration, and support exist, but not with all team members. There is more focus on keeping the peace than speaking up, mining for conflict, or driving peer-to-peer accountability.
- Loyalist Teams: Extraordinary teams. On these highest-performing teams, all members feel accountable to shared and aligned goals, and provide honest, candid feedback. They actively work to make others better, trust one another unconditionally, and are loyal to each other, the team, and the organization.
- Extend trust and assume positive intent with each other
- Talk to each other, not about each other
- Respect each other and listen openly to others’ views
- Provide candid feedback to each other
- Put the toughest issues on the table and talk honestly about them
- Hold each other accountable for achieving our goals and living our team norms
The new year is the perfect time to reset your team. Once you start, you are likely to see improvements immediately. Be intentional in your efforts – and persistent – and you’ll reap the rewards.
Audrey Epstein is a partner at The Trispective Group and the co-author with Linda Adams, Abby Curnow-Chavez and Rebecca Teasdale of The Loyalist Team: How Trust, Candor, and Authenticity Create Great Organizations. For more information, please visit trispectivegroup.com.