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How To Help A Sick Team Become Healthy

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Team Building Question:

A team is full of animosity, pretended interpersonal relationship, fear of bosses, mistrust and endless infighting what can I do as a team building facilitator?

The Team Doc Says:

Well, you've got your work cut out for you. Plan on this being a long term intervention. You can bet the team didn't get this way overnight and there is more than likely some deep seated history and company cultural issues that have helped them get into this mess.

I'd start with a survey to determine some of the underlying issues that are the cause of all the discord on this team. Conduct this survey at the team level and then once your results are compiled, use that data to formulate additional questions to ask at the individual team member level. Meet with each team member one on one to further dig into the root cause of the team building problem.

Then start from scratch. Just like kicking off a new team. Make sure you identify the company sponsor - someone at the leadership level who takes responsibility for this team - and that you have the scope and boundaries for the team identified. If possible, identify the team's stakeholders before you move forward also.

Next you'll want to go through the team chartering process. Identify mission, values, goals and operating procedures and autonomy level for the team. If the sponsor is not involved, make sure you get some buy in with him / her along the way.

That's all there is to it! Seriously though, this is going to take you a long time of intense work with this team. Plan on it. You've got to take them back to step one in the team building process to the forming stage and start anew. And along the way you'll need to overcome the obstacles that have caused them to get to this point.

Let me know your progress as you go along. You can send me a message via the Team Doc form by clicking on the link in the right hand column or by leaving a comment right here on my blog.

Denise O'Berry (aka 'Team Doc') provides tools, tips and advice to help organizations build better teams. Find out more at

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