The word toxic means poisonous or something that will cause damage; we know this as we looked it up! When a sales team becomes toxic then it affects every aspect of a business. If a team becomes toxic it is a big deal and for the small business the results can be fatal. If left unchecked the toxic team becomes dysfunctional at best, performance suffers, and at worst becomes terminal and destructs. For individuals this can lead to stress which in turn can lead to illness which in turn results in lost working days and greater cost to your business.
We talk to lots of businesses, one struck a real cord when a director said “My Sales Manager has resigned. Don’t make me try to manage that team again. If I had wanted to deal with shit that happens in the playground I would have become a dinner lady”. We have been working with this business for over 12 months now and we have made significant changes and the team members are the same individuals– Happier? Yep! Out of their comfort zone? Yep! Now a cohesive and successful team? Yep!
There are lots of different types of toxic team. It can happen overnight when a new person joins. Or it can be something that builds over time, normally due to people working together for too long, in the same way, with the same systems, or generally unhappy with their lot. In fact in the words of the guru Brittany Spears “its in the air and all around” (Toxic; 2004) and this means you, as the business owner have to be aware of the signs of a toxin developing in your team so that you can stop it before it starts (its much cheaper and easier on the blood pressure too):
A team that gets on is not always the best team, if everyone agrees and is happy all of the time, things will not get done and the performance will decline. You will hear things like “everyone is trying really hard”. No one is accountable and therefore no one takes responsibility. Every business wants the team to get on, to be cohesive, it’s when it goes beyond that guidelines are relaxed and complacency steps in. and besides who want to be the one to tell their friend they had not competed a task well?
People wear masks. We know this and understand that everyone has masks (whether or not they should be being worn is a matter for another day) but what about the team that agrees and states it will work on a project in a formal setting but as soon as they leave the meeting – negativity central… “that will never work”, “I don’t know what she’s thinking”, “oh well! its his money!”. A team that does not have the strength amongst itself to disagree with a decision and the creativity to come up with ideas to put it right isn’t worth having.
Toxicity does not always show itself as actual violence – and no one wants to work in Fight Club (and yes this is a blatant excuse to include a semi naked picture of Brad.Pitt, for the ladies). It can manifest in many tiny forms that will only result in your business suffering. This is the battle of the ‘alpha’ (male or female) of the team and is all to common in a sales environment. As the business owner you have to show them that you are the ‘alpha’ without getting involved in the game.
Apathy is the touch-paper for some teams, they just don’t care enough about the business they are in. As the business owner you have to take responsibility for this and take steps to ensure the job satisfaction of your team. Unless you want drones who just punch in and punch out, have no opinion and just don’t care about your business or their role within it. This is the most toxic of them all and unless dealt with will not have the fairytale ending. The company that you have grown from nothing is failing and right now you are failing it back.
At Sales Academy we love a sporting link and we love working with people increasing their individual and team performance in order to increase profitability. Our ethos regarding teams is simple. If we get everyone rowing in the same direction and using their oars in the same way and in time then guess what… we will start to travel. And… if we have set our sat navs (ask us more about this) correctly we will be moving the way we actually want to go. This is how Sales Academy fits into your business; we are not just another little training company; we are the little training company that not only trains your teams, well help you to recruit them, retain them and we along with you mentor and coach them for as long as they are with you.
To find out more about how we work with individuals, sales teams and whole businesses take a look at our websites or… go on… be a bit old-fashioned – give us a call!