Have you recently been promoted or tasked with leading a team? That’s great!
What’s not so great is if the team you have been tasked with overseeing are is not functioning properly. For a first-time manager or leader of a team, dysfunction can be the source of much stress and despair.
Although being tasked with leading a team can be exciting and a great learning experience, your life can very quickly be turned on its head if your team are is not working together efficiently.
When you take over a team, it is important to learn how you can best manage the individuals within it and the team itself overall. If your team is dysfunctional and not working together properly, you will need to act fast in-order in order to get it back on track and working efficiently again.
It takes a little hard work to get your team working with each other again, but it is well worth the effort.
Host Project Management Meetings
Regardless of whether your team is functioning properly or not, a major role you are going to play is the arranging and hosting of project management seminars and meetings.
In a competitive global market, businesses must deliver projects which are innovative and establish the company’s name as an industry leader.
Project management seminars can also be a great way for you to get your team back on track. These seminars are highly-focused and take place in an environment where the company’s best interests are the primary goal.
This is a great environment in which you can promote cohesion between the members in your team and get everybody working with each other towards a common goal.
Remove the Bad Eggs
In any dysfunctional team, there are typically a few key people who are causing all the drama and standing out for the wrong reasons.
Since you are responsible for a dysfunctional team, don’t give a second thought to getting rid of these people if you can and if they do not buck their ideas up.
Get rid of them as soon as you can. Although this sounds quite harsh, the drama, time, effort and energy it will save you in the long-term is well worth it; if a problem causer wants to be that then they have no place in your team and you should make that known to them in no uncertain terms.
As soon as you have gotten rid of the person(s) in your team who have been causing the grief, you will notice a sudden and measurable change in your team’s energy.
This only really works if there is a key person(s) in your team causing the trouble.
If you have an entire team, which is dysfunctional and are all equally contributing to the problem, then this solution won’t work… you can’t fire your entire team!
Set Shared Visions
As the team leader, it is also your responsibility to set the overall team vision and any team goals.
You need to establish this very early on and create milestones which contribute to these visions and goals being achieved.
Your visions and goals do not need to be over-complex; a very simple idea of what you would like your team to accomplish over a certain period of time can be all you need.
When you do not have some shared goals or a shared vision, your team will not know what’s going on aside from what they are focusing on, whereas a team vision will keep everybody informed about what’s going on and what needs to be done and by when.
Milestones are also great to include as they enable your team to suss out how they are performing and how far along towards the shared vision or goal the team is.
A lot of managers ignore the importance of having valuable face-to-face time with their wider team and team members individually.
Yes, as a manager, you will be very busy, but this does not mean that you can ignore your responsibilities in meeting with your team at least once per week.
By being relatively absent and not getting much face-time with your team, you are inadvertently promoting dysfunction because your team members will feel as if nobody is in charge and nobody cares.
The best managers out there understand the importance of having a visible and vocal presence within their teams and will often find time each day to check in with individuals within their team.
You should not be sitting on the sidelines and hoping things run smoothly. We can guarantee that if you do this, they most certainly won’t.
Host Team Building Activities
Team building events are a great way for your team to get together and mingle in a more relaxed social setting.
Team building events should be special activities which are hosted infrequently – perhaps once every month or so – and focus on fun, energetic activities which everybody will enjoy.
When team members get a chance to bond with each other socially outside of the office environment, they are more likely to work better together in the office environment.
Team building events enable your team members to develop friendships with each other, friendships which otherwise would not have happened, and they are great for blowing off steam and forgetting about the stresses of work.
Work hard, play hard is how the saying goes, and teams who regularly participate in team-building have much stronger bonds, work better together, and produces better results.
Your team members cannot improve if they are unaware of the areas in which they are lacking.
Performance reviews should be held periodically – like team building activities – and will serve as a thorough look at your team members’ individual strengths, weaknesses and quality of work.
Members of your team can only rectify their shortfalls if they know exactly where they are going wrong. The very best managers will make time for frequent performance reviews and see them as an important part of keeping teams operating smoothly.
People respond well to good feedback and validation, and a performance review is a fantastic way to do this even if you have to bring up some negatives and highlight areas for improvement. They are motivating and give your team members individual goals which they can work towards.
Taking over the reins of a team can be both rewarding and challenging, but more-so challenging if you are taking over a team which comes with its own inherent problems.
A dysfunctional team has been the undoing of many a manager, but with the right attitude and approach to your new team, there is no reason why you cannot get them back on track and work together properly again.
There are many methods you can use to try and do this, but an organic approach which looks at the problem pragmatically and works to find a permanent solution is the best way to go.
All the team-related issues have their causes which can quite easily be solved. Just remember that it is your responsibility as a team leader to manage your team and solve these issues before they start having an impact on the company itself.