How do you bring together teams, which only know anger, anxiety and mistrust?

  • 3 min.

We were called in by a National health authority to create some solid foundations and trust between four teams that were not working together – and needed to.

We had 30+ people who hated coming to work. They loved the patients they worked with – but it stopped there.

We had the top floor managers, night workers, day workers and the day activities team. They did not really communicate, meetings had no structure, the quantity of email was exhausting people, there was no cross-team trust and a lot of gossip and negative energy. The manager called us to help these tired but competent individuals towards a better future.

 

Dealing with anger, anxiety and mistrust

Approach

Phase 1

We wanted as much information as possible. We spent two days with the fours teams. One team per half day. Each team came in to the space and individuals could chose anyone of four corners to stand in – each corner represented one of the four teams.

Individuals had to share their thoughts and experiences from the ‘I’ perspective – I am now representing this team and this is what I feel, this is what makes me angry, this is why I don’t trust another team.

It helped individuals stand in other teams shows and also gain a wealth of information we would have never otherwise discovered.

That two day exercise itself gave a lot more energy, openness and space within and between the teams.

 

Phase 2

We gave them six weeks before returning. In the mean time the teams received regular and simple assignments, that are in line with their day-to-day work. For example, create a process for your emails; work together to tidy up the space; drink beers after work; create space in the day to share lunch and coffee; talk about your experiences during the day.

 

Phase 3

We brought the teams together during the next sessions and reflected on what had happened and start to bring to the surface and harvest what has been initiated. The 100 little success of what had happened in Phase 2 had to be celebrated so they could regain trust with each other and with one self.

 

Results

  • Teams trusted one another, worked together and started to job rotate
  • The number of emails dropped
  • The level of happiness, engagement and productivity increased
  • Increased sense of trust, understanding but also of shame – the sense of disappointment on personal level at how they had previously behaved the judged
  • This was shared very openly by those who wanted to – an experience itself that created strong bonds of trust
  • Patients and Parents noticed immediate differences in energy, smiles, dynamics and interactions