If you’ve spent any length of time in the workplace, you have probably experienced the two basic work environments out there: healthy and unhealthy.
This translates to toxic and nontoxic workplaces. And one of the intrinsic truths of workplace toxicity is that while we know when we’ve found a stable, supportive and emotionally healthy workplace, we’re usually not as quick to recognize an unhealthy one. In addition, it can be easy to miss incremental downturns in team dynamics, communication and attitudes that can slowly erode team morale and affect output.
If you look at a team as one entity with many parts, picture an automobile, it becomes clear that when even a small part falters or fails, the whole team may be jeopardized. Add in the additional challenges businesses face in times of change, planned or unplanned, and ensuring a healthy team becomes even more critical — because it’s during these times that small cracks in a team can widen and become threats to successful operations.
Boost Midwest understands that in order to ensure the outcomes that operations and project managers want, a healthy team culture is critical to sustained success. And this becomes even more crucial at times of change, growth and new product launches.
Is your team healthy or turned toxic? Here are the five top red flags that signal that team life is not working as it should be.
The 5 Red Flags of an Unhealthy Team
High turnover. If your team is a revolving door for departing and new team members, that’s a strong indication that, in some way, the team environment is driving employees away. It may be external to the team, such as leadership demands that can’t be met with the resources provided. And it’s true that employees leave positions all the time for new opportunities. But if you’re seeing a high turnover rate, it’s definitely time to take a closer look at why.
Lack of enthusiasm. A sunny outlook and positive attitude goes a long way in maintaining a healthy team culture. Experienced project and team managers know that it takes just one person with a bad attitude to affect the entire team’s outlook. If left unchecked, the end result is negative attitudes all around and — as numerous studies show — less productivity.
Rumors and gossip. Whether directed at performance or personal in nature, rumors and gossip in the workplace divide teams and can create internal factions that work at cross-purposes within a team. Infighting, paranoia, a lack of real friendship among team members are all signs your team is not working as it should be.
Team conflicts. Part of working collaboratively means that disagreements and conflicts occasionally arise. This not only is normal, it’s an integral part of team creativity and problem-solving. But it raises a red flag when the disagreements are constant or expressed as personal attacks or in mean-spirited ways.
Fear of failure. While no one wants to admit they’ve failed at a task or assignment, when team members are afraid to take risks and step outside their comfort zones, the effectiveness of the team is compromised. Called “psychological safety” in the business world, it’s “an individual’s perception of the consequences of taking an interpersonal risk or a belief that a team is safe for risk taking in the face of being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive,” according to Google’s Project Aristotle, a lengthy study of team effectiveness.
Then, we offer 5 quick tips to improve team morale, with the understanding that a comprehensive assessment —like Boost Midwest’s AIM Operational Assessment & Workshop — may be just what your company needs to raise its level in beyond team morale.
5 Quick Tips to Improve Team Morale
Employees with high morale are “engaged, motivated and efficient,” an American Psychological Association unsurprisingly found in a 2019. “They willingly put in more hours and are more productive on the job.” To get a jumpstart on increasing team morale, try these five quick tips:
Have a daily huddle. Take 5-10 minutes each morning to share progress, issues and concerns to connect your team and provide a shot of energy to the day ahead.
Break up the routine. Schedules are important for maintaining structure but over time can sometimes have a deadening effect on employees. For a quick morale boost, let team members arrange their working hours to start later on Monday mornings or leave earlier on Fridays.
Remember the big picture. What your team produces on its own may not be exciting but it’s likely a small piece of the “greater good” in some way. Let your team knows that their work is contributing to making the world a better place.
Show your appreciation. Two important words for managers to remember are “Thank you.” As American Express recommends to its team leaders, “Say it, say it about something specific, and say it with meaning.” Why? Because showing appreciation is an immediate morale booster.
Listen. If your team is unhappy or angry, its members need to vent, individually and collectively. Meet with your team both ways and just listen. If your team is big, break it into smaller groups, so no one member steps onto their personal soapbox and dominates. Also, set a time limit so team members can prioritize what issues are most important. Often, when larger issues are addressed, they take care of the smaller ones.
Boost Midwest knows that a healthy team operating in a supportive and sound workplace culture is primed to take on new challenges — and is invested in the team’s and company’s success.
Ready to learn more about how Boost Midwest can help you optimize your project management and operations? Schedule your free consultation call with us today using our Quick Schedule Link here.