When a Working Group
Becomes a Team
At a large award-winning non-profit, a close-knit team who had been working together for five years lost one member to a promotion and another to family leave. The leader made two new hires. Seeing an opportunity to shift functions for both roles, she let the new hires know her expectations… but didn’t think to tell the rest of the team.
Long-time team members watched the new hires not take on the responsibilities of their predecessors and grew resentful. Eventually, the issue came to a head. When a veteran member yelled at one of the new hires that he was incompetent, something had to give.
First, Jo helped the whole team establish a framework for seeing and working with each other’s different perspectives and motivations using the Enneagram tool.
Then, Jo focused on helping the leader develop key skills to be more effective. Until that point, she hadn’t been very vocal and tended to be more laid back. In truth, her team needed her to step up and lead more directly.
In the area of Developing One’s Influence, the leader worked on finding ways she could take more leadership of her team and directly address simmering conflicts.
With the leader stepping up, Jo then worked with the entire team in the area of Mastering the Art of Results. Over the course of 6 months, they met to clear the air, develop new expectations and agreements, gain an understanding of each other’s differences and strengths, and create their mission-vision-values statement.
“We’ve never worked together like this before – it makes such a big difference.”
The infighting stopped – along with the frustration and negativity that was spilling into other working groups. Within four months, a team that had barely been talking to each other had regular bi-weekly meetings. They also report more collaboration, a newfound pleasure in working together, and spontaneous meetings as the need arises.
The team leader has stepped up as a leader. She increasingly coaches her people. She communicates her expectations more clearly. Where she used to allow herself to skip team meetings because she was ‘called away’, she now makes those meetings a priority – and spends more of her time on training and performance development for the people who have committed their lives to her organization’s mission.