This is a guest post by Andi Simon, author of On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights.
As a team leader, you are the first defense against a toxic culture. If you sense that conflict is becoming the norm, that employees are no longer working well together, that employees are overwhelmed and burned out, or that performance is slipping, act quickly.
Andi Simon,a corporate anthropologist and author of On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights, recommends the follow exercises to clear the air and encourage your people to work together again:
Created by Luke Hohmann, “Speed Boat is based on the concept that something is holding the team back, similar to anchors or rough waters,” Simon says. The goal for the the team is to pinpoint obstacles to their success. To play, ask employees to write down what they think is holding their boat (team) back, and then post their reasons on a wall around a picture of a speed boat. “It’s fascinating how a metaphor—a boat—and the image of an anchor help people uncover the toxic issues that are damaging their interactions,” Simon says.
Sad, Mad, Glad
“Participants each have a set amount of time to tell a story about what they are glad about, sad about and mad about in their daily work,” Simon says. “Then they talk about what they would do to increase, reduce and eliminate in order to create a new story that addresses the sad and mad, and builds on the glad.” The goal: to encourage team members to resolve their issues and improve their interpersonal relationships.
“In this approach, pairs of staff members are responsible to each other to make sure their jobs are done on time and to specs,” Simon says. “The pairs are rotated every two to three weeks. The watershed moment occurs when the pairs realize that their success only comes from results that both of them achieve.” The reason: Research suggest that coworkers who work in pairs, and hold one another accountable for their results, are more successful than employees who work solo.
Andi Simon, author of On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights, is a corporate anthropologist and award-winning author. She is the founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants, designed over a decade ago to help companies use the tools of anthropology to better adapt to changing times. Simon also is a public speaker and an Innovation Games facilitator and trainer. She served as a tenured professor of anthropology and American studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey, and was a visiting professor teaching entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis. Simon has appeared on “Good Morning America” and has been featured in the Washington Post, Business Week and Forbes, and on Bloomberg Radio.