When the Going Gets Tough

As part of team how do you react when the going gets tough? 

A.  Do you dig in to make it work? 

B.  Do you run for the hills or hide under your desk? 

C.  Do you find someone to be the sacrificial lamb? 

All of these, and probably a few others, are fairly typical reactions to the ugly times that face every team sooner or later.  If your answer is A then you are a good team player and hopefully everyone else on your team reacts the same way.  Unfortunately, too often B or C are the answers we see in action.

If you find yourself part of a team that has a negative reaction to the tough times there are a few things you can do to help get things back on track.

  1. Ask what you can do.  This is a very powerful question to ask the team leader or others on the team when something goes wrong.  It shows that you are committed to getting things moving forward, not dwelling on the negatives.
  2. Avoid placing blame.  Again, focus on what needs to happen now, not who did what wrong.  The blame game just gets people defensive and serves no good purpose.
  3. Step up if you erred.  If you were the one who made a mistake, calmly, clearly and factually state what you did wrong and how you think it can be corrected.  Sticking to facts and admitting error without panic will help keep others from pointing fingers.
  4. Stop any team bashing.  When others start to place blame, wring their hands, or other non-productive action work to redirect the conversation to what happens now and what can be done to move forward.  Stay focused on the future and what needs to be done. 

If you can be a positive person in the face of adversity then you can help your team react the same way.  It’s hard and gets harder when the people around you want to wallow in the problem.  The only way to overcome a problem is to get to work and fix it.  So step up, take the high road and pull your team along with you.

What other things have you done to keep the team on track when the going gets tough?

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Filed under Leadership, Team Building

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