How to Fix a Dysfunctional Workplace Team

You don’t have to be a project manager or team lead to repair a dysfunctional team, since every member is responsible for ensuring the group’s success. Plus, being linked to an under-performing team can damage your career, while righting the ship can not only improve your standing, but your job satisfaction.

Have you been on a dysfunctional team? What did you do about it? Share your thoughts below. 

In fact, Christine M. Riordan, dean and a professor of management at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver made this observation in Forbes:

“Ideally, the team’s own leader will address the issue, but if the leader is part of the problem, another team member or someone from outside must initiate the conversation.”

So how can you fix a broken team?

Clear the Air

Acknowledge prior problems and draw a line in the sand. To alleviate dysfunction, the group must agree to leave the past behind and commit to charting a new course.

Establish Ground Rules

Yelling, glaring, interrupting, undercutting, undervaluing or sabotaging violates trust and leads to dysfunction. Remember, it’s rarely one bad apple that spoils team effectiveness; teams develop bad habits as a group. So establish ground rules for interacting, sharing opinions and dealing with disagreements. Write down the rules and ask everyone to sign the document and publicly commit.

Focus on Team Goals and Results

We’ve all heard the expression there’s no “I” in team, because members need to set aside their personal agendas and focus on a set of common goals. Make sure the objectives are clear and hold everyone accountable. Use data to measure results and establish a series of incremental steps to get the team back on track.

Celebrate Small Wins

Build momentum by highlighting the team’s success. There will always be setbacks but effective teams persevere and find a way to reach the finish line.