Executive Coaching – Staff Conflict

Today’s article was inspired by an executive coaching session I had with a CFO. He has two team members that need to work together. One reports to the other, and both report to him. These two subordinates have been an ongoing problem for him. They are constantly bickering, which is not good for office morale. Productivity is being affected, and they are each coming to the CFO to complain about the other. He came to me to discuss how to address the issue.

Issues With Conflicting Staff Members

As we talked, it was obvious that there are several issues at hand:

  • Neither respected the other.
  • Neither trusted the other.
  • Both were trying to protect themselves by going to the boss.
  • Both needed each other.

Unable to Work Out Differences

My client had decided he was going to let them know that if they could not work out their differences he was going to get rid of both of them. He thought that by taking this approach he would make it clear that this type of behavior would not be accepted in his office and that he was not going to choose sides. He believed they were both qualified for their positions, and their behavior was unacceptable. As a result, if they could not learn how to work with each other, there would not be a place for them in the company.

Questions To Help Resolve Issues

In order to help them see some light he was going to have a meeting with both together and ask them the following questions:

  • What was the biggest contribution that they felt the other person brought to the company?
  • What was it that they appreciated most about the other person?
  • If the other person could change one behavior what would it be?
  • What would it look like, and how could they go about making that change?
  • What is one thing that the other person does that causes other people not to trust them?
  • What would be one thing that could do to reverse that mistrust?

He was then going to ask them each to commit to those changes and then they would get back together in 30 days to grade each other on how well they improved.

Resolving Conflict Between Team Members

In my experience as an executive coach, my client is using a highly successful approach to resolving conflict between team members. It is effective because people usually fail to see things from the other perspective. This lack of empathy and selfishness causes a barrier in relationships and an inability to develop mutually beneficial solutions. Upon breaking the barrier by truly seeing issues from the other person’s perspective, colleagues soften in their personal positions and can see issues from a broader perspective. As a result they are prepared to attack challenges from a mutual gain perspective.

To learn how an executive coach can help to improve your growth potential, contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7213.

Business Coach, Business Coaching, Culture