The team would often make decisions about how to improve their practice but, unfortunately, any changes they made would be short-lived and they would quickly return to their old habits and established ways of working. Liz found this frustrating but accepted it as a fact of organizational life: ‘Teams make decisions but don’t stick to them; that’s life.’ However, she was very interested to note what happened when the team had a new manager, Andy. His influence as a leader proved to be quite significant. When the team made any decisions after his arrival, he would watch closely to make sure that team members were sticking to what they had agreed, and every time someone began to revert to the old pattern of working, he would gently remind them that the team had decided that wasn’t the way they were going to do it anymore. This proved to be very effective, as this gentle ‘policing’ of the team’s decisions enabled change to be carried through and become established as new patterns of working. This made the team much happier about their ability, with Andy’s leadership support, to improve their practice. Indeed, they felt much happier about the team overall as Andy’s approach had created a sense of trust and security. This helped to generate a sense of well-being within the team, as each member felt that they had a leader they could rely on. This simple process on Andy’s part of making sure that the team carried through the changes agreed was extremely effective in creating a culture of positive change. Liz realized now that the team’s previous laxity in carrying decisions through was not ‘just one of those things that happen in organizations’, but, rather, was an indication of the previous team manager’s lack of leadership skills in allowing the team to lose sight of its decisions and the need to implement them effectively.
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