Transforming a Negative Team Culture

Negative team cultures have a detrimental impact on team camaraderie, productivity, morale, and retention. Within these cultures, you’re likely to spot several telltale signs such as mistrust, gossiping, bullying, cutthroat competition, fear, and dissatisfaction.

To transform a negative team culture into a positive one, you need to remove the negative behaviour patterns.

How do you do that? The key is to focus on the people as the first step to improving the team’s performance and culture.

People can have a positive attitude in spite of a negative environment because it is people who can adapt the best, the most rapidly, and make the most difference to the team’s success.

To get to this point, you have to deal with the behaviour patterns of the negative team members.

Let’s begin with those who are in a negative state and then work towards the positive.

People in a negative state

The negative team members may:

  • Feel stressed
  • Be tired
  • Be frustrated
  • Have little to no trust in each other
  • Have poor communication skills
  • Have poor work ethics
  • Feel like they are part of a big machine
  • Be apathetic
  • Be disorganised
  • Be afraid
  • Feel insecure

People who are in this state are hard to deal with. These people create a lot of tension and stress that are hard to handle.

To create a positive team culture, you need to deal with these people’s negative behaviours.

You can start by focusing on the people and get them to talk about their experiences with the negative behaviour.

The first step: Focus on people as your key to success

You need to understand that these negative attitudes and behaviours are not “who you are” as a person.

You can’t allow these people to drag you down as they drag themselves down. It is vital to recognise that these negative people are like a disease that spreads to others. It can also be contagious because it impacts your team’s attitude and makes them act in a similar way.

You can use the negative team members as a means to your end by using them as a focus group. You should do this before doing anything else on your team. A focus group is also a good way to find out the opinions and thoughts of your team.

Make a list of the negative members of the team so you can address them and the problems that they cause. This is essential to managing the negative team members.

Doing this will help you to identify the areas that you need to work on and can get you to focus on people and their needs.

By focusing on people, you can create a culture that will bring people out of their shells. For example, it is easy for a team to get locked up in a “silo” or group that seems to go their own way and does not listen to other team members. By focusing on people, you can break down walls and prevent people from being lost.

The second step: Give people the confidence they need

When people feel confident, they can take action in a positive way. If your team members don’t feel confident, they will continue to create problems and negative attitudes and behaviours.

The main thing that you need to do is to make sure your team members know that they can do great things and have confidence in themselves.

You can use the following techniques to make sure your team is confident:

  • Help the team members know that you will help them solve the problems they are facing
  • Make sure the team members feel heard and that their concerns are understood
  • Create high-trust environments
  • Allow team members to take the lead in their areas of responsibility
  • Make sure the team members are treated with respect and dignity

The third step: Get a team culture

Creating a team culture doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with you. In a new team culture, you have to work hard and continuously create an environment where everyone understands how to work together.

The main thing that you need to do is to get to know the team members and to become their friends.

You will have to spend time with them outside of work, get to know their strengths and weaknesses, and understand their personal history.

If you do all this, you will start to see that the people you hired are who they say they are. You will see that they are kind, caring, trustworthy, hard working, and committed to making a difference in the community.

In addition, if you work hard to create a team culture and create an environment that is inclusive, then your team will grow strong and together they will be able to create a culture that works for them.

The key takeaways

To transform a negative team culture into a positive one, you need to remove the negative behaviour patterns.

The key is to focus on the people as the first step to improving the team’s performance and culture.

Then, create a customised repair strategy that relates to your team’s diagnosis.

Finally, implement that plan by communicating expectations and setting universal standards.

Changing your organisational culture is a large undertaking. It takes time and commitment.

But by following the above strategies and remaining patient, you’ll start to see gradual improvements and—eventually—create a positive team culture that’s worth bragging about.

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