Team Unity Advice: Team unity can be slow, and that's good | Leader 411

Team Unity Advice: Team unity can be slow, and that’s good


This bit on Leadership Advice was submitted from an accomplished graduate student looking to make a quick difference in team unity:

Dr. Ross, I have recently taken over a new team at work. I was totally looking forward to this promotion until I met my team. They’re not as motivated as I’d like them to be. I’ve applied many of the things we’ve discussed in class, but they’re still not working. Why not? When will it start to work???

This is very common. I mean, who doesn’t want to do awesome after a new promotion?! Absolutely you want to excel. You’re obviously capable of it, so lets get it going, right? Well, one thing that many of those quick success stories fail to mention is the law of timing from John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

Timing is so important and has a variety of implications:

  • We Want to do Everything at Once – We may have 10 new projects we want to do, but doing so soon after taking over a team can overwhelm them and could even cause distrust. Slow down and take a moment to build the relationships and analyze the situation. Deal with the major problems first, then work down from there.
  • Realize that Success Takes Time – I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a few teams I’d call extraordinary. None of them immediately reached extraordinary status. They took time to develop, to unify.
  • Its Through Small and Simple Things That Great Things are Brought to Pass – Often we want to do everything at once. We want to create big projects to show amazing results to our supervisors so we can achieve awe-inspiring results. Yes! Absolutely this is great, but it’s not the big project that creates the success. Its the thousands and thousands of tiny decisions that build relationships and unity. Its continually sending positive messages to team members that you care about them and their fit on the team, that it’s OK to fail, that you are willing to defend your team in the face of adversity. While there can be big, impactful events, it’s often the small ones that are the most impactful.

In summary, be patient with yourself and trust the process. Team unity takes time which is a good thing because it builds a solid foundation for unity and success.

About the author: John is a recognized professor, public speaker, trainer, author and entrepreneur. Business is his passion and his hobby. He started as a 7th grade history and English teacher (loved it), then produced musical events (loved it) followed by a long stint at a Fortune 100 manufacturing company (miss it sometimes). He eventually earned his his PhD and currently resides in Indiana teaching and researching leadership and entrepreneurship at Indiana University. You can reach him directly at

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