C-Suite Network™

12-Step Program to Detox Your Team

Does your workplace culture or your team environment resemble a daytime soap opera? Do new workplace dramas unfold among your team members each Monday morning? Are spats and tiffs between team leaders the norm? (Do you often hear music crescendo in the background and then cut to a commercial break?)

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives…

If so, then your workplace culture is ill, and I’m afraid it’s not a make-believe disease a` la General Hospital, nor can it be cured in a 30-minute episode. You may be suffering from “Toxic Team Syndrome!”

I’ve been hired to play doctor to cure these toxic work environments. It’s tough to diagnose your particular problem. I’m no doctor, and no – I don’t even play one on TV. But I’m willing to bet that these problems are merely symptoms of leadership failings and missteps, such as:

  1. Lack of leadership vision
  2. Poor leadership communication
  3. Failure to develop team members
  4. Leaders who are unconscious and unaware of their impact on others
  5. Team members forced to compete against each other (and actually, that statement is an oxymoron)
  6. “Leaders” function more like managers in that they focus only on managing processes, systems, things, and pay little attention to mentoring, engaging, or inspiring people
  7. Bored team members
  8. Leaders who use a one-size-fits-all approach
  9. No emphasis/effort in creating a positive work culture

Thankfully, for you as the executive leader, it’s not a fatal disease – if you catch it early. The first step is to recognize that you have a problem. Don’t be in denial. The bottom line is that you can’t cure the disease if you don’t admit that you’re sick.

So many leaders are absolutely clueless to the work environment they’ve created.

Yep, I did say that you create the work environment. So if your work environment is like a soap opera drama, you can correct it over time. Here, I have listed my

12-step program for detoxifying your team:

  1. Explain to each team member how his/her work contributes to the bigger picture.
  2. Get to know team members and focus on drawing out the best that they have to give. Serve as a mentor, guide, and inspiration to team members.
  3. Leadership is an inside job. Identify your own strengths, limitations, blind spots, etc. Lead from a place of self-assurance and confidence.
  4. Clue people into the bigger picture – share your vision for the organization.
  5. Treat each person as an individual but don’t play favorites.
  6. Don’t participate in, nor tolerate malicious workplace gossip. Establish a professional atmosphere where all team members are treated in a respectful manner.
  7. Reward, recognize and encourage teamwork and avoid creating situations that require team members to compete against one another.
  8. Provide team members with a variety of development opportunities and cross-train team members where appropriate.
  9. Err on the side of over-communication. Effective leaders know they can’t communicate too much with team members.
  10. Ask for, and really listen to, feedback from team members, customers, and superiors. And then make changes where needed!
  11. Work hard to build and maintain trust and loyalty. NEVER discuss one team member’s issues, problems, or situation with another team member.
  12. Strike a balance between setting yourself above (and superior) to your team and being one of the “guys.” Somewhere in the middle is best.

YOUR TURN! What will you:

  • start doing,
  • stop doing, or
  • continue doing or do differently

to “detoxify” your team and your team’s work environment? Share your action plan with us in the comment box below!

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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems


Jennifer Ledet

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