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I think this is a great call out. This is infact the very moment that skill and professionalism in team management is called to the front. A really good manager can do something about this; but it's a gradual process and a hard one.

Fundamentally you need to change the culture of the team. The first step is to establish a team - in the situation you are describing there is no real team - just a bunch of people waiting for a cheque every month, a new job or being told that this job no longer exists. You need to figure out if there is a core purpose that some or ideally most of the people in the team will sign up to (with you - if you aren't "in" then they can't be), which will deliver for your stakeholders. Then you have to orientate the team to deliver this, some of them won't come along, some of them can't. You will have to do a lot of coaching with some of the ones that would like to.

The big question : what is the core purpose that your team will adopt and which will change how they work and what they will do?

Ask. Ask them.




In my book if you don't have authority, including to hire and fire and affect compensation decisions, then you aren't a manager. In that situation you're half glorified babysitter and half scapegoat. And I agree this is how most organizations are designed, and why they're so anemic. I very much like flat hierarchies and consensus decision-making, but at the end of the day someone is in charge or they aren't. If they aren't, their capacity to effect cultural change is severely diminished.




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