Have you ever felt like your team’s meetings were sucking hours from your life? Is it inconceivable to expect your teammates to collaborate with you positively and productively?

You might be in an unhealthy team.

But what to do?

Healthy teams require careful cultivation and intentional leadership. Just like a garden which flourishes when tended with love and attention, a team needs nurturing. Negative and destructive behaviors need to be weeded out, even if it means uncomfortable and thorny conversations. The core values of the team need to be clearly defined and communicated frequently — more frequently than you think. Without those targeted nutrients of purpose and direction, your team will lack what is needed to perform, just like plants without fertilizer.

Also, remember that each plant in your garden has its own unique needs in order to flourish. Get to know your team members. Find out what their own personal core values are; discover what they are concerned about and what goals they are pursuing; suss out their personalities and how that impacts their communication patterns and the kinds of things they are most likely to notice. Different people have different blindspots. Encouraging each person to see contradictory personalities as complementary rather than in conflict will help your team members watch each other’s backs instead of stabbing them.

Above all, make sure that you are putting in the energy to connect authentically with each team member. Truly value them. Remember that they are humans, not problems. Listen earnestly and attentively to them and demonstrate that you care about intersecting with their priorities. If you don’t put in that effort to connect, it will be like refusing to water your garden — and like a neglected garden, your team will turn into a barren and dry wasteland.

If you want to learn about more practical ways to diagnose and treat an unhealthy team, or how to support the growth of a healthy one, I want to extend a personal invitation for you to join Sound Advice Advanced Club on December 17th at 6:30pm PST for our panel discussion on “Crafting a Healthy Team: The True Potential of Club Leadership.” Register here to reserve your place!

Jaymes O’Pheron, ACG, EC5, PM5
Professional Catalyst, Communicator, and Coach at opheron.com
VPM & VPPR of Sound Advice Advanced Club
VPM of Nerdmasters, VPM of Harbor Club