A Dysfunctional Team

We were asked to help a broken leadership team to mend itself.  We completed the ‘usual’ research, speaking to the team, their reports and some of their client groups to understand the situation.  The causes of the problem rapidly became apparent :

  • individual objectives and priorities that weren’t aligned;
  • different ways of working; and
  • a lack of trust in each other.

We worked with the HR Business Partner and the team’s Director to develop a one day programme that would lead to some simple commitments that the team could hold themselves to.

The day focused on identifying and agreeing  :

  • the shared values they had – and understanding their differences
  • the dysfunctions in the team – we used the assessment in Patrick Lencioni’s book to help the discussion
  • what their clients needed from them and what they wanted to be known for – their individual and team brand.

The team were all experienced leaders, but the pressure they were under had got to them.  The day allowed open, constructive conversation and agreement to a way forward.

The simple commitments to each other – attending and being prepared for meetings, sharing information in a timely way outside the formal sessions – these all happened.  The feedback from their clients and team was that they were getting consistent messages from each leader and their team and were far easier to work with. The trust had started to come back.


The roles of manager and their reports in Development Planning conversations

Every good manager plans the development of their team with an aim to make sure that the learning and development offered is relevant to our the organisation, team and individuals. Personal development, effective career management and succession planning are linked together. They involve individuals who:

  • Are aware of their aspirations, strengths and areas for development;
  • Know what they want, what they are good at and those areas they need to improve upon, or not be involved with;
  • Are in a good position to manage their career.
  • Are aware of opportunities that either are available or may become available.
  • They are forward-thinking about their roles and what they need to do to achieve their aspirations.

Their manager is responsible for monitoring the progress of each employee, including coaching them towards meeting their performance and career goals. A good manager empowers their employees, providing them with tools, guidance, challenge and support.

This means that in practice they have multiple roles with their team:

  • A role model -demonstrating interest and activity in your own career development;
  • An information source – providing information to your team about business direction, organizational changes as well as career/job-related development and career opportunities;
  • Encouraging them to consider and take on career/job-related development and recognize them when they do this;
  • Meet with them to guide and support the implementation of their Development Plan;
  • Assess their strengths and weaknesses provide them with constructive feedback;
  • Create on-the-job development opportunities; and
  • Provide time, budget, and work environment that encourages and reinforces learning and sharing

The role of the individual in the Development Planning process is to:

  • Think about their career interests, and the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to achieve their career aspirations;
  • Develop the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to achieve their performance objectives; and to
  • Be prepared to adapt to changing business needs

Great coaching questions.

I often run a short (90m) coaching workshop.  Sometimes this will be a standalone, other times it will be part of a longer programme or conference session.

I use the basic GROW (Goal, Current Reality, Options, Will) model as it is simple and familiar to many people.  It also works.  I start by going through the model, working through an example and looking for examples for the group to reinforce this. We then brainstorm GROW questions, pinning each question into the GROW element that best fits it. That leads to some good discussion, before we break into threes to practise some live coaching, with one Coach, one Coachee and one Observer.  They use the brainstormed questions to run through the practise exercise.  We then do a whole group debrief.  I’ll have been wandering around, listening, watching, encouraging and giving the odd nudge here and there.

Here are some Great Coaching Questions to use yourself :

• Where do you want to be?
• Where do you see yourself in 1, 3, 5 years’ time?
• What are you looking to achieve, and why?
• How would being successful make you feel?
• Where are you heading to?
• What are you ambitions / aspirations?
• What is the end result you want to achieve?
• Why is that important to you?
• What would success look like?
• How will you know/feel when you’ve achieved it?
• What does it look like when it’s done well ?
• What would you like to get from this conversation?
• What is the dream?

• Where do you feel you are at the moment?
• Where are we at the moment?
• What’s is others’ current perception of you?
• Who do you need to influence?
• How did you get to where you are now?
• How do you feel right now?
• If you had to do it again, what would you do differently?
• What has or hasn’t worked for you before?
• What could trip you up?
• How do you feel about your opportunities?
• What are the barriers?

• What options are available to you?
• What resources are available to you?
• How would you describe the opportunity?
• What support do you need?
• Who could provide you with that support?
• How could you approach this (achieving this goal)?
• If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do?
• What is the opportunity/challenge here?
• How could you make this a more enjoyable experience?

• How will you know when you have achieved it?
• What are the milestones?
• What do you need to do first?
• Who will you need to talk to?
• What are you going to do, and by when?
• What’s the most meaningful action you could take now?
• What resources or information would help you to decide?
• How can you keep yourself motivated?
• On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you to achieving this goal?
• What will it take to turn a 6 into a 9?
• How often do you want to ‘check in’ on your progress?

Good luck.  Let me know how you get on.