Working Transitions

Jexit in a reasonably priced car: What to do when you lose the support of your team

At the time of writing, 19 members of the shadow cabinet have resigned. Many more in junior positions have also gone. There is a no confidence vote pending and the deputy leader of the Labour Party has suggested to Jeremy Corbyn that there will be a leadership challenge. At the same time, there is also rumour that Matt Le Blanc is refusing to do a second series of Top Gear, whilst Chris Evans is at the helm; such is Evans’ alleged behaviour and treatment towards production staff.

Whilst these are very public, losing the support from your team within a work context is not unusual.

No matter how good a leader you may be, or how much research you may have conducted into how to improve your leadership skills, there is always the chance that you could lose the support of your team for one reason or another. This may be noticed in behaviour such as a lack of attendance at meetings, or having private meetings behind your back when they know you’re not able to attend – and therefore deliberately trying to make sure that you are left out of the loop. Although you may think that this is stressful when it happens in your place of work, the good news is that there are things that can be done about it, meaning that you should be able to win back the support of the team that you have built up.

Reasons your team may turn against you

Often, the reason for the loss of team cohesion is thanks to the fact that a solid team was not built up in the first place. It is important to ensure that each team member knows that they are respected by you, and that any issues within the team are dealt with quickly and effectively. By taking the time to invest effort into your team, you can be sure that they will work much better for you in the long term.

Take note of what is happening

It is important to admit to any issues that are occurring with your team. Putting your head in the sand and pretending that everything is fine will only make matters worse. You should always be aware of the general atmosphere within your team, in addition to the behaviour of each individual. This gives you the best chance of noticing a change much more quickly. If you notice that something negative is happening, you should mention it to the team, as this means that there is nothing being held back, and they will be aware of how you feel about the situation. It can cause more issues if you simply pretend that everything is fine, when your team can clearly see otherwise.

Consider what has caused the issue

Often, when it comes to issues in the workplace, there can be one single, usually simple, cause of anguish. This can sometimes be a person, or the team’s perception of a situation. The best thing to do to help with this is to ask as many questions as you can, and this should give you a better idea of what is actually wrong within the team.

Be in control of the way forward

It is important that once you have acknowledged any issues, you also need to admit to any problems that may have been caused by your own actions. It is vital that the team understand that you’re taking responsibility for any issues that you may have contributed to, and this gives you the chance to ask them for their own feedback with regards to resolving the situation. However, once you have asked for this feedback, you should ensure that you always listen to the opinions that are given to you, as this means that your team are much more likely to feel valued under your leadership.

Make use of mediation if necessary

Sometimes, you might find that there are issues that you are unable to deal with on your own. Where this is the case, you may find that outside mediation could be utilised, as it could be a good way to bring a resolution a step closer. You may find that, depending on what the issue is, you need to slightly restructure your team and the way that they work together – not all members of your team may be best placed there if they find that they are consistently unhappy.

By far the most important thing when you feel that there are issues in the workplace is to make sure that you are able to deal with them quickly and as effectively as possible. The longer you pretend that nothing is going wrong, the more resentment is likely to grow within your team, and this is something that is never going to be productive when it comes to moving your team forward. Ensure that everyone has the chance to have their say, in addition to the opportunity to let you know how things could be better dealt with in the future.  You should find that this gives you the best chance of improving relations within your team in the long term. Having a team who feel able to work together can make a huge amount of difference in an organisation, and this means that by taking the time to consider how you tackle issues within the workplace, you can ensure that your team remain strong.


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Working Transitions
28 June 2016
Supporting effective and successful organisational change


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