I have recently been thinking about some teams that were not performing well. In my opinion, they were underperforming, not because they are incompetent, but because the leadership is poor. Thinking about it, I believe that this scenario applies to a large amount of teams out there and one of the big things that needs to change that needs to be done is to change the leadership approach.
Bringing Everyone Together
For me, the leader on a team can have a huge impact on its success. Often, when the leadership is bad, the members in a team don't work together. I have even seen people go so far as to sabotage their own team members! This is the absolute last thing you want.
In these situations, you need to bring the team together and turn the individual members into team members. One technique that I like to do this is to get everyone into a room and play some board games. I really do find that this breaks down barriers and get people laughing and having fun. I have seen it many times before, where people start to have more conversations with their team members, go to coffee together etc, as a result of the board games.
Another approach would be to organise that the team to go out for lunch together. This allows them to get out of work mode and just chill, have a good time and see a different side of them. Another option that I have seen work is to play some LAN games with your team. Whatever you try you need to make sure that your team members are having fun. For me, this is one of the first step in creating a great team.
Once the team is working together, your next step is to get your team to believe that they can be the best. Winning the psychological battle is half the battle won. This will not be easy though! If a team has been the "worst" for so long, they just don't see how this is possible.
In addition, if something goes wrong and has a negative effect on the team, whatever belief they have built up will be completely destroyed. You need to make sure that you keep them focused on the mission and to make sure that they keep on working together. If you can do that, int time, the team will turn around.
You may be thinking that there is no way of turning the darkest team into shining stars. I have read of many instances in the US Navy & Military where the worst teams in the country became the best, just by changing their leaders. If they can do it, then you can as well, you just need to believe and keep on working at it.
Until next time...keep learning!