In 2020 when the pandemic hit, office life suddenly disappeared, and teams had to stumble their way into working remotely. Now, three years later, many executives are demanding a return to the office, fearing a lag in productivity, creativity, and team cohesiveness and a desire to return to the old ways of top-down directives. But employees are far from being on the same page, and research has confirmed that returning to the former pre-pandemic status quo is not the healthiest way to build a strong and productive team.
According to a Fall 2022 Future Forum Pulse, there is a large gap between leadership and team members’ desire to return to the office. Twenty-five percent of executive leaders surveyed claimed “team culture is negatively impacted” as the number one reason they no longer wanted to offer schedule flexibility and remote work. Between Aug. 2021 and Aug. 2022, executive leaders reported 40% more work stress and anxiety and a 15% decline in satisfaction in their working environment.
But remote and hybrid workers showed a 52% more likelihood to say their company culture has improved over the past two years, with flexible work policies being the number one reason for that improvement. And workers with schedule flexibility are 26% less likely to be burned out and report more than five times greater ability to manage work-related stress.
When leadership and team members are not on the same page, this leads to team dysfunction. Leadership that operates from a place of fear instead of cohesion, can foster an environment of team members becoming disengaged, burnt out, and lacking trust in their leaders. Patrick Lencioni has identified the principal dysfunctions of a team in his New York Times bestselling book Five Dysfunctions of a Team Training Workshop. These dysfunctions are:
- Absence of Trust – unwilling to be vulnerable about mistakes and weaknesses.
- Fear of Conflict – unwilling to engage in unfiltered and passionate debates of ideas.
- Lack of Commitment – without open communication of opinions, there is little buy-in for decisions.
- Avoidance of Accountability – without committing to a clear plan of action, most focused and driven people won’t call out peers on actions and behaviors that are counterproductive.
- Inattention to Results – when team members put individual needs above the collective goals of the team.
So how can leaders bridge these gaps and bring their teams together so there is both team satisfaction, increased productivity, and team cohesion?
The foundational components of high-performing teams are:
1. Learning to trust each other
Team members feel heard on their needs and desires, and leaders trust their employees to get their job done by offering flexibility, without top-down micromanagement. By leading with trust, leaders are reducing burnout and increasing employee engagement and loyalty. This workshop will lead your team through identifying trust-related behaviors through assessments and trust-building exercises and action planning.
2. Engaging in productive conflict
If there is no space to disagree and have conflicting ideas, then creativity wanes and team trust is further eroded. In the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Training Workshop, teams and leaders will learn to identify conflict-related behaviors and work with a team conflict map to understand healthy and unhealthy behaviors during conflict.
3. Committing to decisions and actions
When there is buy-in to decisions made and actions taken, team members are invested in the outcomes. From the workshop assessment, teams will review the team’s commitment scores, and develop behavioral ground rules specific to their team needs to help foster commitment.
4. Holding each other accountable
When teams aren’t holding one another accountable, tensions and distrust can build which can result in resentment, unfair workloads, confusion around expectations, and a breakdown of team trust. The ability to feel comfortable holding team members accountable is built on trust, healthy conflict management, and agreed-upon decisions and actions. In the workshop, teams will identify the importance of accountability in their team and create an action plan to improve overall accountability.
5. Focusing on the achievement of collective results.
If the team’s results are secondary to individual results, then team effectiveness breaks down. Teams that are fulfilled and engaged focus on collective results and achieving those results together. In the workshop, team members participate in a Team Scoreboard activity, in which they learn about and then create a tool to help them track progress toward their goals. They review the team assessment and create an action plan to achieve team goals.
We live now in a new workplace model, one that requires more team cohesiveness while managing physical distance in the hybrid remote work environment. As trust gaps widen, we see that old techniques of management are no longer effective. Leaders need to feel connected to their teams and trust in their employees, and team members need to have more flexibility and trust from their leaders. This doesn’t happen without new models of team building and production. The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Training Workshop can give teams and leaders the tools and knowledge needed to bridge this gap and create a space of psychological safety for all team members.
Follow this link to request the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Training Workshop for your team today!