This entire community is dedicated to ending the misery of bad teams.  Twice a week I share with you ideas, tips, and tools that I hope are helping to make your teams healthier and more productive.  Next week I’ll get right back at it.  For today, I thought I would do something different. For all of you who have been working diligently to change your teams, here’s a list of the 10 subtle signs that it’s starting to work. I hope these early signs of progress are evident on your team.

  1. You and your teammates catch yourselves when you say or do things that are counterproductive.  To be clear, you are probably still making bone head comments.  I’m just saying that now you realize the error of your ways and maybe even apologize.
  2. There is a 3 nanosecond silence after each person stops talking.  This is a great sign that people are spending more time listening and less time planning their witty rebuttal.  Achieve this and you’re on a great path.
  3. Someone raises the point that you normally have to nag about without you even mentioning it.  You notice yourself pleading someone else’s case.  It’s either Freaky Friday, or people are starting to understand each other’s perspectives a little better.
  4. You have dispensed with spending 30% of your meetings in violent agreement with everyone saying “I don’t want to repeat what’s already been said” right before repeating what’s already been said.
  5. Someone on your team admits that they are having difficulty changing their behavior.  It’s a little awkward when they do, but secretly everyone is impressed that someone had the kahunas to say they were struggling.
  6. More and more people pose questions rather than making definitive statements. Either your team has secretly been infiltrated by consultants, or you are finally getting the knack of that communication thing.
  7. There is a little more conflict and diversity of opinion being raised in your meetings.  This might not feel great yet, but it’s a sure fire sign that confidence and trust are slowly building.
  8. Discussions are involving more people.  It’s not just a bunch of one-on-one meetings with the boss being held simultaneously.
  9. You find yourself agreeing with someone you would normally be in violent opposition to.  Now that you’re actually listening to what they’re saying, who would have guessed, it actually makes sense–huh, whaddayaknow?

And of course, the most important sign that your dysfunctional team is improving…

10. Now that you think about it, it’s been 2 weeks since you remember wanting to run from the room screaming.

How many have you noticed so far?  Are there other signs that you’ve noticed that make you confident that your team is getting better?  I’d love to hear your stories.

Further Reading

What I Learned from my Second Dysfunctional Team

Struggling with your Team? Good

Are you Working with a Toxic Team?

2 Responses to Top 10 Signs that Your Dysfunctional Team is Getting Better

  1. Carol Blades

    Hi Liane,

    i love this blog especially #10. I’ve got a new theory on work – some days it really sucks being a boss, but if you are in a dysfunctional ecosystem you may have way more days where is sucks having a boss. My team and I giggle over this theory and collectively we work to have as few of these days as we can.

    • I love it. I think there are difficult days for everybody. Being a team member can sometimes mean you are working without complete information and certainly without much control. At the same time, being a team leader can be very difficult because they are often sandwiched in the middle. That’s why we all need a little more empathy and a lot more good humor on our teams. I’m glad your team has already figured that out!

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