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Handling Opposition

Handling Opposition

Good leaders are always anticipating. When trying to build morale, pride, and spirit, the leader must consider those things that could keep the process from realizing its full potential.

  • When trying to build morale, pride, and spirit within an existing team, negative team dynamics and existing dysfunctions may have to be dealt with first. These can be addressed by improving communication and relationships among team members.

  • Some of the current team members may not be open to the initiative. They may desire to remain detached; they may think that morale-building processes are impractical, simplistic, unsophisticated, idealistic, an invasion of their privacy, or a complete waste of time. Some will have a wait-and-see attitude. The leader must be tolerant and patient with these individuals. This is an evolving, sequential, building-block process that cannot be implemented overnight. Once these reluctant members understand and see the process in action, the majority of them will come round.

  • Because of their history with one another, team members may feel that it is unsafe to open up, be self-disclosing, become vulnerable, or freely share with each other. This can be overcome by time, changes in personnel, and the positive example of the leader. It is the leader who is responsible for creating the secure environment in which individual risk and vulnerability are reduced, personal validation is high, and members feel like parts of an important whole.

  • Individual agendas, competitiveness, and ambition may also make open communication uncomfortable. This can be dealt with in a number of ways: setting ground rules that discourage such behavior, giving feedback when the behavior does occur, and rewarding supportive behavior with bonuses or in the annual review process.

  • The toxic nature of some organizational cultures and politics may inhibit the morale-building process. These are difficult to deal with and may not be totally overcome. While they may hinder the effectiveness of the process, they should not discourage the leader from attempting to implement it. Leaders do what they can in the culture they have; there are no perfect organizational cultures.

  • Other teams within the organization may become envious of the new and improved morale, pride, and spirit developing within your team. Some of their members may want to join your team. This may result in ridicule, criticism, and even hostility directed toward the leader and the team. One way to resolve this is for the leader to have a heart-to-heart talk with the source. An alternative is simply to ignore it and accept the fact that success generally causes a negative response from those less successful.


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