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7 tactics to turn around a non-functioning team

Published on: Aug 24, 2015

You’ve just started a new role and you realise you’re managing a non-functioning team, what can you do to turn the team around?

It’s always exciting to start a new job and meet the team you will manage. At first you may not notice your team is not operating effectively, but be warned if you don’t take note of the signs early on, employee morale, job satisfaction and individual performance can all be affected.

To overcome and turn around a non-functioning team, take these positive steps to make a change:

1. Initiate open discussion

Open and honest discussions will help towards overcoming problems. Suggest a team meeting, book a room where everyone can sit down together to discuss what is and isn’t working well and what solutions there might be to any underlying issues. By encouraging everyone to communicate and input their opinions, you can help kick-start the process to turning the team around.

2. Take the lead

Rather than sitting back and accepting the situation, make a concerted effort to change patterns of your team’s behaviour. If you have good leadership skills and are good at inspiring others you may be able to change the attitudes within the team. Develop respect and trust with your colleagues by giving guidance, this will give you the chance to help build a cohesive team.

3. Set a good example

It's important that if your team members fall short of pulling their weight that you don’t fall prey to the same behaviour. Be someone your team can look up to and respect. This means making an effort to go above and beyond. If you set a good example, others will be encouraged by your positive behaviour, which can lead to better results for the team as a whole. And, your employer will view you as a positive influence, in turn this will help towards building a strong case for your own career advancement.

4. Excel in your own tasks

While it is important that you and the team function well, don’t let your projects slip as a result. First and foremost, you have to show yourself to be a great performer in your own right, and an asset to the business. This proves to your employees that you are capable of getting your job done in difficult situations.

5. Help solve team problems

If you are a strong problem solver, take the time to help out the team with difficult tasks. If you lend a hand now and again, then you may see the underlying issues first hand on why your team isn’t functioning well. By spending time addressing key issues affecting the group, you will be able to turn your team's performance around.

6. Find your teams niches

If you operate in a non-functioning team where your feel your employees skills and qualifications are not put to their best use, speak to the team. They may have a solution in mind, such as exchanging certain duties or responsibilities with a colleague, allowing both employees to perform at a higher level where they and the team will succeed. Where possible, it makes sense to find a solution with your team – this can build confidence, boost morale and lead to better results.

7. Make a change

If you manage a non-functioning team and you’ve tried everything you can to turn things around, it may be damaging your professional career advancement. In which case, it might be time to make a change and start looking for a new job. If you do decide to change, make a note of the reasons why your team didn’t perform well, that way when you are looking for new opportunities, you will know what to look out for in a non-functioning team.

Author: Robert Half