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From Chaos to Collaboration: A Guide to Managing Your Dysfunctional Team



Managing a dysfunctional team can be challenging for the following reasons:

  1. Lack of cohesion: Dysfunctional teams are characterized by a lack of cohesion, which means team members are not working together effectively. This lack of cohesion can make it difficult to establish goals, make decisions, and work towards a common purpose.

  2. Communication breakdowns: In a dysfunctional team, communication breakdowns are common. Team members may not communicate effectively, which can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and a lack of trust.

  3. Poor performance: Dysfunctional teams often have poor performance. Team members may not be motivated or may not have the skills necessary to perform their roles effectively. This can lead to missed deadlines, low-quality work, and decreased productivity.

  4. Resistance to change: Dysfunctional teams may resist change, making it difficult to implement new processes or procedures. This can lead to stagnation and a lack of innovation.

  5. Emotional issues: Dysfunctional teams often have emotional issues that can affect team dynamics. This can include conflicts between team members, unresolved personal issues, and lack of trust.

However, there are several steps you can take to improve the situation:but there are several steps you can take to improve the situation:


  1. Identify the root cause of the dysfunction: The first step in managing a dysfunctional team is to understand the root cause of the problem. This may involve speaking with team members individually or as a group, reviewing performance metrics, and observing team dynamics.

  2. Address communication issues: Often, dysfunction within a team is the result of poor communication. Encourage team members to communicate openly and honestly, and consider implementing tools such as regular team meetings or a team communication platform to improve collaboration.

  3. Set clear expectations: Clearly define the goals and expectations for the team, and make sure each team member understands their role in achieving them. This can help to prevent confusion and conflict.

  4. Encourage collaboration: Encourage team members to work together and share ideas. This can help to foster a more positive and productive team dynamic.

  5. Provide support and resources: Ensure that team members have the resources and support they need to do their jobs effectively. This can include training, access to tools and technology, and additional staffing if necessary.

  6. Address performance issues: If specific team members are underperforming or causing issues, it may be necessary to address those issues directly. Consider providing coaching, training, or other support to help them improve.

  7. Celebrate successes: Recognize and celebrate team successes. This can help to build morale and encourage team members to continue working together effectively.

Remember, managing a dysfunctional team requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to address problems directly. By taking these steps, you can help your team become more productive and collaborative.


Addressing issues at work proactively when they occur and not letting them fester in one of the key topics my co-author Ken Cameron and I talk about in our 5 Star Amazon book 'I Need To F***ing Talk To You - The Art Of Navigating Difficult Workplace Conversations'


You can now order copies of our book here.

"Sometimes conversations suck, but you need to have them, and this book lays out how. Russell and Ken have put together and road-tested simple, up-front, and thoughtful approaches to awkward and difficult workplace conversations."

Andrew Phung, CBC's Kim's Convenience



To find some great tips on how to structure difficult workplace conversations why not check out this previous blog post 'Use the B.E.E.F Model to Correct Employee Behaviour'


Or check out our online course



In conclusion, dealing with difficult personalities can be a challenging task, but it is possible to manage and even thrive in a work environment with difficult personalities. By understanding the behavior, setting clear boundaries, focusing on what you can control, using active listening skills and taking care of yourself, you can create a more positive and productive work environment for yourself and your team.


I hope you found this blog useful. As you continue your leadership journey, don't forget that here at Bluegem Learning we are always here to assist you.



If you'd like to hear more from business leaders about handing difficult workplace conversations, check out our podcast here, new episodes bi-weekly ...


Well that's it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the blog and I'll be back soon with more, until then ... be a leader not just a boss!



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