5 quick ways to screw up the team spirit

  • Wim Meinderts

The spirit in every team or company is crucial. It not only influences the level of engagement and work satisfaction, but it also leads to better results. A good spirit even positively influences the cooperation between departments. One of the most determining factors for the level of team spirit is leadership. Not all leaders fully understand the reach of their influence or contribute the team spirit to external factors.

Therefore some quick points to screw up the spirit in your team.

  • Assign most of the work to your best employees

To be able to achieve the necessary results it makes sense to assign tasks to the employees you know that will deliver. Some employees have a high work ethic, demand only the best results from themselves and have difficulties to say NO. In quite some departments these are the employees that get the extra work. In the long run this has a negative effect. The best performing employees will get demotivated, because they get overloaded, while there underperforming colleagues are more or less left alone.

  • Focus on the negative

As a leader you want to continually improve the results. While walking through your department you have the skill to quickly identify current and future problems. This negative focus quickly influences your communication and interaction with your employees. If employees continuously get confronted with all the things that are not going perfectly, it start to drain the energy out of a team. Employees get motivated by appreciation and positive feedback.

  • Be secretive

As a leader you have insight information on upcoming developments and strategies. Due to your presence in different meetings and your contact with senior management you are in the know. Some leaders use this information (information = power) to impress their employees. As soon as employees get the feeling that you are withholding information, it creates the feeling of uncertainty and dependence. Employees want to be treated as equals.

  • Spend no time with your team

One of the best ways to screw up team spirit is to ignore your employees. If you are always busy and running from meeting to meeting, it sends a clear signal. Do not join them for a small birthday celebration or ask about their latest vacation. Focus on the goals you have to accomplish and minimize the level of interaction. Employees prefer to be recognized.

  • Obstruct job opportunities

In large companies employees often have more career opportunities. Sometimes employees solicit new opportunities or a colleague contacts you about a certain employee. Unfortunately every time a team member leaves it leads to extra work. Replacement needs to be found and trained. Therefor it’s better to obstruct these internal moves. Your department is key and you have no time for additional challenges. As soon as employees get the feeling that your goals are more important than their goals, team performance will start to suffer.

Of course most leaders not purposely damage the spirit in their team, but unconsciously it happens a lot. The majority of our behavior is automated and therefor unconsciousness. Do you want to learn and reflect on your leadership style? Do you want to learn, how small actions can have a huge impact on team spirit?  Check out this training or contact us for more details.