Seven Ways to Reenergize a Disengaged Team

Do you work with a disengaged, detached team? I hope not. If so, don’t just sit there and sulk; do your best to suggest and implement a few tactics that could get the team back on the right track. 

  1. Bring in donuts, tacos, coffee; any food/drink to get the team conversing and socializing without an agenda, objective, or action items. If you work with a team, you are going to spend plenty of time together. Why not spend some time getting to know the people who you are going to trust to build, sell, or market the ‘next big thing’ for your organization? Culture isn’t built in a day, so this can’t be a one-shot deal. Do it every Friday, or, at the very least, once a month if budgets are tight. 

  2. Learn from the best: Is there a team that appears to have it all figured out? Truthfully, they don’t have it all figured out, but there are probably items you can take away from the most experienced and high-performing teams about accountability, trust, commitments, and goal setting — not to mention advice about tools and processes. 

  3. Clear up confusion on key principles: It might sound absurd and catastrophic, but disengaged teams are probably misguided on: What are we building? What are we selling? How are we being measured? And how are we going to get there with the resources we have? Until you have these fundamental principles answered, you will have a team wandering off in six different directions. 

  4. Pair ‘em up: In software development, pair programming is a commonly employed practice to a) check and verify work and b) learn from each other collaboratively. Why not take a hint from the software geeks and pair up a junior sales representative with a senior sales professional? This need not be anything formal. Just pull two chairs together for a few hours each day and watch the magic happen. 

  5. Have a whiteboard session: Rule #1: The boss doesn’t get the wield the marker the whole session. Many teams use Powerpoint to communicate strategy or discuss future plans and roadmaps. If you hired your team to make smart decisions, how about giving them a role in building the strategy and desired future state. If done right, you’ll have a more dedicated and committed workforce if they’ve had a part to play in what success looks like this year, next year, and five years down the road. 

  6. Talk to each other without screens or devices: Let’s face it. These devices can and are used as a crutch. And when the phone gets pulled out during an important meeting, you are telling everyone in the room this cold, hard truth: you’d rather be anywhere but here. This will create generational friction for some younger teams, but you must keep the phones out of the decisions and discussions if you want anything meaningful, honest and valuable to occur from your time together. 

  7. Celebrate successes: We’ve all seen the gong videos when the new sales rep closes his or her 1st deal. The next time you watch one of these clips, I want you to look closely at the rep’s face. He or she is beaming with pride for getting the job done and gaining recognition and peer acknowledgement and affirmation. When’s the last time your boss or your peers complimented you on a job well done on a key project deliverable or closed deal? If it’s not happening, the team’s most likely fractured, distracted, or even worse, going through the motion. 

Use these team-building suggestions generously and freely to steer your team back to high-performance. Life’s too short to be stuck with a team who gets comfortable with running in place. 

Until next time, 

Dan Naden

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