When a team is working well but has some hiccups, typically it’s just a matter of ironing out communication roles, checking in on the goal, assessing tools/training required, and creating a plan for success. Questions like: What is typical team communication? What does the team need to achieve? What is getting in the way? What is the common agreed upon goal? What does the team see as the biggest roadblock?

If your team is one of the lucky ones… open to solution-based thinking, agreed upon goal and strategy, parking egos at the door, listening to what others have to say, waiting your turn to share, re-checking emotions and personal goals, addressing biases…well, let me tell you, this is a dream team!

However, the other 90% of the team population tends to struggle with at least a handful of issues listed above.

How does a team move past dysfunction?

It starts with assessing Leadership skills, training leaders, working to help leaders understand their team, everyone understanding their role and impact. Then move to creating trust. Trust is accomplished with active listening, addressing When communication challenges (i.e., who is the most/least vocal), addressing emotions, and affirming personal responsibility. Then collaborative goal setting, and goals that are achievable.

With some teams it’s a simple as clearing the air in a conductive manner with the aim to reach a common goal. With other teams, those more on the dysfunctional side, it takes effort to cultivate a safe and trusting environment that keep the team on an agreed upon direction.

Parking egos. Parking self-interest. Addressing Biases. Setting Goals.

A trained outsider typically helps tremendously with this process. Assessing first what the team can and cannot accomplish together. Creating an open conversation. My “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!” environment that is like a tango. The facilitator aims to clear out the gossip and grapevine (hugely toxic) but not let the team descend down the rabbit hole into the Wonderland of dysfunction!

What’s next??? Well, we listen closely to not just what is being said, but how it is being said. What is the body language in the room? What emotions are underlying? Who do are the engagers, blockers, and those keeping silent? Leadership. Not “strong” leadership, but active listening leadership without defense mechanisms (insert kick that personal agenda out).

Next, we creatively collaborate solution-based discussions. Imagine white boarding solutions. Engaging everyone. What I like to call, “come to me with the problem and the solution and let’s figure this out together” type of conversation. Emotions settle. Solutions arise. Roadblocks are overcome. Then the magic begins!