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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, January 07, 2018 1:00 am

New year: Time to hit reset

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

New year, fresh starts.

An email last month with a column by Audrey Epstein, a leadership consultant and partner with The Trispective Group, caught my attention. The subject line was “Four Steps to Hit the Reset Button With Your Team in 2018.”

Even if your team normally functions well, there's probably a chance to improve something – processes, communications, or other areas.

The column by Epstein suggested that while many people are starting the new year with resolutions, it's a good opportunity to resolve to have better teams. 

“What if we could take the old patterns of dysfunction, of gossip and infighting, or cliques and politics of 2017, and turn them into high-performing team behaviors in 2018?” she wrote. “Toxic team behaviors destroy employee morale and engagement, stifles creativity, and stakes personal agendas above team or company goals.”

Although the column focuses on the workplace, the same principles about hitting the reset button apply in any organization, including nonprofits. 

I think I've shared previously in Lead On I've never been big on resolutions, per se, but it's hard – maybe a bit arrogant – to enter a new year and not at least think about how you can be better than you were the previous year. And if leaders aren't committed to getting better, it's hypocritical to think others on their team should have that desire.

Epstein is one of the co-authors of “The Loyalist Team: How Trust, Candor, and Authenticity Create Great Organizations.” She provides four steps for resets:

1. Diagnose the current state of your team. “You need to know what's working and what's not on your team before you do a full reset.” 

2. Set your intention and own your role. “ If you want a team reset, announce your intention to the team,” Epstein wrote, noting that leaders are failing when they ignore dysfunction. “Demonstrate commitment by setting up time and resources to develop the team,” she said.

3. Create team norms. “Toxic teams have learned bad habits,” Epstein said. “Without focused effort to transform this destructive behavior into new, more productive practices, the lingering resentment and negative patterns will reemerge, even with good intention.” 

4. Set team goals. Accountability and commitment are crucial.

So while promoting resets, I fell back to old habit – Googling to find some other wisdom that might be appropriate to share. I love good quotes. Here's a few I found:

• “And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that never were.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, a well-known poet

• “It's never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot, novelist and poet

• “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.” – Neil Gaiman, a best-selling author 

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at