I have been fascinated with how the dynamics of a team can change so quickly. One day you feel like everyone is working well together, on the same page, in sync, goal orientated and, most important, everyone’s work is guided by the desire to improve processes and services to help students succeed.
And then… poof … it all goes up in smoke, and suddenly you don’t recognize the people you are working with anymore. Negativity, jealousy, cynicism and gossip have infiltrated the team and destroyed the beautiful cohesion you worked so hard to achieve.
When this happens, you are left with two questions: What happened and how can I fix it?
Negativity, jealousy, cynicism and gossip are all team destroyers that feed off of each other. If not nipped in the bud quickly, this negativity can continue to fester. Naturally when this happens, everyone looks to leadership to fix the problem. But the reality is that it is impossible for leadership to fix things by themselves, and in reality, it is not their sole responsibility to do so.
The Impact of NJCG
Your first reaction may be to ignore that anything unseemly may be going on, but that is a HUGE mistake. NJCG can have a significant impact on team morale, focus, and success.
Negativity can quickly sap everyone’s energy, including leadership. With no energy, it is impossible to turn the ship around.
Jealousy creates negative relationships that are based on assumptions.
Cynicism prevents the team from thinking outside of the box, creative problem solving, and moving forward. It is also a huge drain on positivity.
Gossip always gets back to the person and hurts feelings and relationships, and sometimes, beyond repair.
So what is the solution?
Well, it’s about unpacking the issues, taking a harsh look at yourself and admitting the role you have played.
Tips to Get Your Team Back on Track
1. Trace the crumbs you missed along the way and didn’t act on. This new normal didn’t just happen overnight, it happened gradually and right in front of you.
2. Admit to yourself why you ignored the bread crumbs. Why didn’t you take action sooner?
3. Contact Human Resources and ask for their advice in developing an action plan.
4. Consult a trusted seasoned colleague. Trust me, at some point in their career they have learned that avoidance is a big mistake. If you won’t take my advice, take theirs.
5. Stop avoiding and have the tough conversations. Create a culture of open communication so individuals can have tough conversations with one another. Have the courage to make the difficult decisions (sometimes that means letting people go) so your individuals can heal and you can begin to rebuild your team.
6. Continue to learn, grow and increase your skillset in leadership and supervision.
How have you dealt with NJCG in the past? Did you ignore it or did you use certain techniques to nip it in the bud? Tell us in the comments. I’d love to hear your experiences.
Debra Y. Griffith
Dean of Student Equity and Success at West Valley Community College
Consultant | Speaker | Coach |Strategist |Trainer