What's your problem?

My new team is so cynical...

by Jeremy Bullmore

I'm a new manager in a newish company, despairing at the cynical bunch of people that I've been tasked to motivate. I'm no happy-clapper, but I would like very much to inject some oomph into them. They've been left to fester under a bad manager for too long. Is my best recourse just to fire them?

A: It might be the easiest recourse but I doubt if it's the best. Hiring a whole new bunch of people at the same time carries its own risks - and I'm prepared to bet that somewhere hidden away in this cynical bunch you've inherited there are some potential goodies.

There'll also be a couple of malign individuals who, through sheer force of personality, have been allowed to set the style for the rest: you've probably already identified them. That's how cynicism and anarchy have prevailed. Only in bad movies does a crusading hero emerge spontaneously from the pack and - against all the odds and without formal authority - transform them all into a tightly-knit team of visionary winners. That's what leaders are for.

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