The question I asked the client as to whose back the monkey was from the point of view of performance of the individual and team. I helped the client to develop the clarity that his team members had more responsibility for the team results more than he and he as the manager had the responsibility to review them as much as enable them. By developing this clarity that he had the power and responsibility to hold the team members accountable for the results; the client felt more comfortable about giving the leeway to the disagreeing team member since the expected team results were cast in stone and every team member were committed to that does not matter they agree or disagree to some of the decisions in support of the team goals. In such situations the client was becoming more comfortable in working with the team member with their disagreements and evaluating it in the context of the team results. Also the client felt that he needed to develop a culture in the organization that required the team members to come together and sort issues instead of making him the umpire every time.
While every member had the right to disagree on intellectual grounds they are required to have the required leadership skills to resolve them through their emotional intelligence. I asked the client as to what would be his ideal meeting structure be that required his attention on team results and not on individual member disagreements. This question forced the manager to have a relook at his entire meeting structure and get it more aligned to results instead of meetings to address issues ands risks. He created escalation structures that helped them members to escalate issues through a structured problem solving process. His was structured as the final intervention and purely guided based on supporting data that team members bought to the table and not just based on any emotions. He developed capability to provide 1×1 feedback to members who were not able to go through the process or bring objective data to help resolve the dispute.
It was also discovered that the client was holding back on his interpersonal communication owing to his more task oriented style. Once the client understood the importance of holding people accountable for results, he had become quite open about other leadership styles focused on building relationships and enabling team members to perform. With this we have agreed that he has a clean plank to be more communicative in his job function. His leadership assessment had indicated gaps in areas such as inability to reward and recognize, more effective 1×1 and performance feedback etc. I have worked with the client to help him with some structures that will enable him to have more effective 1×1, coached him on re-framing techniques for providing feedback and for celebrating individual and team events.
Even as we speak of now, the client is implementing these new learning in his new role of an upline manager. I will be closely working with him as he goes through the exercise. Throughout this exercise I have practiced the essential tools such as listening and questioning techniques, appreciative inquiry, perspective positioning and re-framing perspectives, feeding back to the client, creating structures etc. I have observed the tremendous value that these tools offer and improve the ability of the coach to constructively engage the client without ever trying to give a solution. I’m excited about using these tools in the future as I continue my journey of becoming a world class executive coach.