Outcome: Two Executives Resolve Conflict
Assessment Tools Pinpoint Differences;
Coaching Makes Possible Alignment of Similarities
Companies know when it’s time to change but often aren’t certain how to go about doing it. A national corporation was establishing a branch office in New York City. Before officially opening their doors to the public, the parent company identified two perceived training and coaching needs: developing employees into a team and coaching for two executives in conflict. The goals of engagement centered on support of the national company; development of a cohesive and collaborative, high functioning team; and expansion of capacity for collaboration by resolving the stressful situation between the executives which impacted team morale and individual performance. Leigh Henderson and her coaching colleague Jane Cranston were hired for the engagement.
To start the process, a series of assessments were administered to all staff:
- Leadership Training Room’s customized Workplace Pulse Survey.
- Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument.
- Individual Profile Report based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
- Team Report based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
A series of company-specific team development seminars were offered. By agreement of the participants, all staff had to attend or there was no workshop. Sessions focused on discovering individual styles; setting a team vision, mission, values; and resolving workplace conflict.
Concurrently to the team development process, each of two top leaders worked with their own coach. Interpersonal relations between the two executives were strained to the point that one person refused to speak to the other which impacted the success of team development. A Myers-Briggs Type Workstyles Report was generated for the two executives. Since both leaders were part of the team development initiative, they were able to take advantage of this objective feedback to increase self-awareness while improving individual performance, dyad interactions, and team dynamics. During individual and combined coaching sessions, differences were aired and blocked lines of communications opened to allow a freer flow of meaningful dialogues. Most significantly, by honest yet painful conversations, each realized how much they had in common.
The staff at first balked at attending the seminars and taking assessments. However, once they were able to discuss their results and apply them to workplace situations, staff members accepted the process so that they could gain greater awareness and appreciation for insights into behaviors. As the weeks progressed, communications between the leaders created less friction and there were significant improvements in behavior and level of camaraderie. Later when there were serious organizational challenges, the two leaders became allies to defend their performance to the national office and created a united presence to their team members.