Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Owning Your Team's Destructive Behaviors Is Step One

My HR BFF sent me the link for a recent article on teams from TLNT, an HR blog.  It's called 10 Destructive Behaviors That Can Bring Down a Team’s Success by Deb Spicer. 
Here is the list (further descriptions can be found within the article):
  1. Power Coalitions (cliques)
  2. Piranha Factor (saboteurs)  
  3. Complacency/Status Quo
  4. Lip Service
  5. Competing Factions Within a Team
  6. Round Here Thinking
  7. Strong Silos
  8. Passive-Aggressive Behaviors
  9. Blindness to Customers
  10. Engrained “Old Culture”
Chances are you recognize these from your own experience, and could even add on a few of your own.

And while I agree that this is a good short list on destructive team behaviors, I worry that compiling it in this manner sends an unintended negative message that the team members are the the source of all problems.  In other words, "Oh, the trials and tribulations of being a leader and all the nonsense one has to deal with."  In my experience, the behavior described in that list is a direct result of past and present management capabilities, policies, and culture.
  • Was a team member rewarded by their last manager for delivering on their goals even though the manner in which they achieved it meant that another team was unable to deliver on their goals (e.g., resource hogging, refusing to collaborate)?  Knowing how a new team member was incentivized/rewarded by prior management is just as important as it is to communicate your own expectations going forward.  If it's different than they've experienced before, call attention to the difference, monitor, correct as needed, and reward when the new desired behaviors are demonstrated.    
  • Is the culture you've established for the team one of competition or collaboration?  If it's competition, expect to continue with about half of that list (cliques, silos, saboteurs, lip service, passive-aggressive, competing factions). 
  • Did the recent reorganization merge teams that had previously not worked well together with the expectation that common leadership (aka, sharing the same boss) would "fix" it?  Don't count on it.  Merging silos on an org chart does not make them go away.  It takes sustained effort with consistent messaging by the new leader to break down silos.
  • Does your team have both individual and team accountability well defined?  And if so, do you really deliver on that?  Organizations that move "problem" employees around rather than address poor performance do not uphold individual accountability.  Teams that set only individual performance goals do not have team accountability.  This is where complacency/status quo, 'round here thinking, and ingrained old culture come in.
So yes, recognize the destructive behaviors.  Then get busy understanding where they come from and determining how you're going to address them.  Whether you created or inherited the problems, you own them now.  And that's good news because these are just behaviors, and behaviors can be changed.  Own it and then change it.

Although targeted for those in HR, this website is full of great articles and webinars for leaders in any part of the organization.  Check it out at www.TLNT.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment