It can be difficult to repair a team when friction has started to appear between colleagues. Sometimes you can figure out what the cause of the tension is and find a practical solution to resolve the conflict and get people working productively together again.
However, if you can't identify the source of the friction or your traditional methods aren't being effective, you may need to consider something a little more radical.
Here are five unorthodox solutions to rid your team of negative energy:
1. Force them to work together
They say you need to crack a few eggs to make an omelet, when the same idea can go for returning harmony to your team. Take your team build activities out of the office and get colleagues to take part in a survival or 'bushmaster' course. This will take everyone back to basics and force them to work as a team to achieve the objective. Unlike other team building ideas, it's unlikely that anyone will have an upper hand, so everyone will be on the same footing.
Yes, there may be a few arguments, but you may find that this clears the air and everyone returns to the office with a weight off their chest and a new drive to work with their colleagues.
2. Job swap
Negative energy on a team can often come from resentment between colleagues. This can be because of personal disagreements or general job stress but can also be the result of not respecting each other's value to the team. Most people are guilty of understanding the importance of their own role but not extending this privilege to others on the team.
It's often without malice that professionals do this, with any autonomous worker needing to prioritize their own workload above anything else. But this can soon lead to a disrespect for the time and pressures of their colleagues. Making team members swap job roles for a day or even longer can give everyone a better understanding of the value others provide.
3. Build a mentor program
Another way to create a more positive atmosphere on your team is to create mentors out of colleagues. Everyone likes feeling appreciated and recognized for their skills so creating a program where colleagues can learn from each other gives you the opportunity to celebrate their strengths. Mentorship can improve the working relationship between colleagues, while also enabling individuals to better value the expertise of their team members. You may need to carefully consider which professionals you place together, as it could lead to resentment if certain individuals are overly arrogant or overbearing about their skills. To prevent problems such as these, create clear goals for the program and ensure that everyone is held to the same standards.
4. Rethink your workspace
From bringing in a pool table to providing nap areas, there are a variety of ways you can make the work environment more welcoming to the people working in it. Research has shown that offices can have a massive impact on how professionals feel about their employer and the people they work with. This could not only lead to a more positive working environment, but also create a more productive team.
Before you make any rash - and potentially expensive - decisions, talk to your team and find out what changes would make a measurable difference to them. There's no point bringing in table tennis tables and dart boards if what they really want is a chill out room or somewhere to store their bikes.
5. Organize a flash mob
Okay, so this is probably the most unorthodox of them all but there could be value in it. If you've tried everything else you can think of to bring your team back together, organizing something as crazy and out-of-the-box as a flash mob could be the secret you're looking for.
Get the team involved right from the start and plan what you want to do and where. Reach out to family and friends for sponsorships and pick a charity to donate the money to. Doing something this big means there's lots of time for your team to get to know one another outside of the office and there will be a sense of achievement after it's all done.