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How to Rebuild a Dysfunctional Team Rapidly

February 18, 2014

Blog Topic

The pace of change, the busyness of executives and the lack of trained leaders are just some of the causes for team dysfunction, not to mention the primary three – fear, habits and ignorance.

The Warning Signs

  • Tasks not completed on time
  • Less than useful meetings
  • Overuse of email and particularly the CC line
  • Rework increases
  • Leader disconnection
  • Internal conflict
  • Increased safety breaches
  • Increased absenteeism and presenteeism (turning up when unfit for work)
  • Values breaches
  • Process breaches
  • Punctuality diminished
  • Dress standards dropped
  • Focus on maximising “perks” and “rights”
  • Increased union influence
  • Increased staff turnover
  • Increased negativity
  • Work environment more untidy
  • Selfish behaviour in the staff eating & recreational space
  • Noticeable avoidance by members to address the issues in a timely manner

I’m certain you can think of more!

The Rebuild

  • Have an external, impartial expert conduct confidential interviews with team members to verify and specify the issues. They will most likely show up these key areas:
    • Broken relationships – Existence of conflicting factions, groups or individuals
    • Leadership deficits – most often due to lack of training and development
    • Skills gaps
    • Communication failures
    • Structural flaws
    • Resources gaps
    • Lack of clarity of policy and process
  • Use the findings of the interviews to realign the leadership team and prepare them to meet with the team to agree on the improvements needed as listed above and create a new team agreement additional or supplementary to existing EBAs etc.
  • The leadership conducts a one day facilitation workshop, with the leaders facilitating, asking questions that reveal the desired improvements and outcomes, preparatory to the entire team signing the proposed agreement. The independent external expert assists the leaders to run the day, but it must be seen that the leaders are the facilitators.
  • The external expert conducts a following one day workshop up-skilling all team members and leaders in attitudinal competence, realigning with the values, preparing to let go of past issues and move forward. The expert should have at least three activities that achieve the following:
    • How to choose better attitudes (thoughts and feelings)
    • How to communicate respectfully no matter what is happening.
    • How to overcome past issues with each other and move forward together.
  • Having achieved the results in 4 above, the agreement, which must also contain accountabilities and consequences (commencing with positive consequences), is signed by all members including leaders.
  • The leadership team meets after the last workshop to debrief and choose at least three key items to implement for quick results and evidence that leadership is adhering to the agreement. The remainder of agreed improvements are scheduled and implemented.
  • The team leader keeps the agreement alive by engaging effectively regularly with the team and reviewing and communicating progress.
  • Continuous quarterly reviews and adjustments.
  • Measure and Tracking - A combination of KPI tracking and team surveys, no more than one survey per six months, will assist the team to progress as desired.

Conclusion

There are too many broken teams in the greater workplace, and too many leaders not taking the appropriate action to remedy the situation.

There is abundant evidence that rebuilding the dysfunctional team is doable and rapidly so.

What are you going to do about the team you know needs help?

Ready for Action?

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