In today’s workplace, it’s easy to wake up and find ourselves in a funk. A short break, chat with a mentor, or bit of self-care usually does the trick! But what happens when an entire team gets in a funk? The solution is less clear, and the impact can strike a long-term blow to performance and engagement.
If you’re a team leader in this situation, you know what’s really happening. Team culture is breaking down – either a little or a lot – and it’s time for some real talk. Here are three straightforward steps for team leaders to initiate a meaningful dialogue and foster a positive team culture.
- Define Team Culture Clearly
Start by demystifying the concept of "team culture." We define team culture as a pattern of behaviors that are reinforced or discouraged by people and systems over time. Under that definition, it’s possible to see how what people get comfortable doing (and not doing) becomes a habit. Remind everyone that habits aren’t one person’s fault; they’re just a product of the team culture that’s in place.
- Identify Collective Habits
Ask your team to list their collective habits. Give everyone time to think through their responses, and take responsibility for capturing the list of habits on a whiteboard. TIP: invite discussion with these prompts:
- As a team, does our conversational habit seem honest, superficial, direct, or vague?
- Collectively, does our decision-making habit feel inclusive, unilateral, rushed, or delayed?
- When things go wrong, does our troubleshooting habit focus on accountability, blame, frustration, or understanding?
- Evaluate and Reinforce Positive Habits
Guide the team to analyze the listed habits together. Identify which habits contribute positively to cohesion and productivity and which ones need improvement. By collaboratively assessing these habits, the team can work towards reinforcing positive behaviors and discouraging counterproductive ones.
Conclusion: Armed with insights from the team discussion, you as a leader can implement the right behavior reinforcers and discouragers. This proactive approach cultivates a stronger, more unified team culture, preventing future funks and significantly enhancing performance and engagement.
For further assistance in facilitating team dialogues or implementing behavior changes, we're here to help! Additionally, explore our 5 tips for delivering feedback that strengthens team bonds and produces results. Click below to learn more.