Building a healthy and productive team is crucial and it's possible. If you are just forming a new team, now you have the daily regimen that will allow you to start things off on the right foot. When you start out by paying attention to your five responsibilities as a team member, you will form healthy habits that will inoculate your team against dysfunction.
Don't kid yourself: You will encounter stress and tensions. But if you approach them with a positive attitude and a willingness to focus on the issue and work to the best solution, you'll slowly build the confidence that your team can tackle whatever comes at you. You can build a great team.
Even more important, there is a path back from mediocrity and even from outright dysfunction if you're on a Toxic Team. Making the personal changes required to change your assumptions, add your full value, amplify other voices, say “no” more deliberately, and engage in productive conflict will allow you to lead the change on your team. Bringing in the structural and process supports outlined in the triage sections in the first half of the book will bolster your individual efforts and start to embed the changes in the way you do things as a team. I know it can be done because I've seen it work—over and over.
Let's go back to the Toxic Team from Chapter 2—you remember the executive team of the small financial organization, the “rabies shot” team. Things had spiraled downward over several months to the point where no ...