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Dec 14, 201712:48 PMOpen Mic

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4 steps to hit the reset button with your team in 2018

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The New Year brings with it the opportunity for change, growth, and renewal. We commit to accomplish 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 team behaviors destroy employee morale and engagement, stifles creativity, and stakes 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.

How would you characterize your team? Do you need to move from good to great? Is your biggest issue trust? Are you missing shared goals? Reflect on your team leadership practices and talk with your team to analyze the current state. You can also take a simple and free online team assessment or download a loyalist team checklist for a more accurate view.

2. Set your intention and own your role.

As a team leader, you have an exponential impact on the state of your team. If you want a team reset, announce your intention to the team. Take ownership for your role in allowing, or not adequately dealing with, the dysfunction. Create a compelling view of a better work life with a stronger team. Demonstrate commitment by setting up time and resources to develop the team. Loyalist teams are built over time and with great intention.


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