Carol was overflowing with excitement that her team had just won a national award for their delivery excellence. Carol was the head of IT and she was calling to thank me for the support I provided through executive and team coaching. This call was much different call than the one we had a year ago when she called to ask what she could do to be a more effective leader and fix her team’s problems.
A year earlier, Carol started the call by telling me that she joined the organization about 18 months prior. The first several months seemed to be going well. She was getting to know her entire IT team, finding small wins, assessing the function and determining gaps, as well as receiving positive feedback from the CEO. Yet despite what her management team was telling her, Carol was beginning to hear whispers that the business was not happy with IT’s delivery. Key business leaders were finding it increasingly cumbersome to work with IT. Fractures were emerging lower down in the IT department as silos began to build up and turf wars erupted. To top it all off, the CEO publically told the entire organization that IT had delivery problems that they needed to fix immediately.
It was the first time in her 20 year career that she couldn’t find a solution and fix the problem on her own. Embarrassed and feeling deflated, Carol reluctantly asked if I could coach her and help fix her broken team. During our conversation, she realized that she had been misreading and ignoring cultural cues and trusted her team to resolve issues when they were missing key competencies.
Carol is like many of the leaders I work with where they find it hard to ask for help, especially when they are struggling with their team. Leaders often feel like they need to find solutions on their own, rather than partnering with a coach. Here are 6 questions that can help you determine whether you need external help to increase the effectiveness of your leadership and your team. If you answer yes to at least 3 of the questions, have a conversation with a team coach.
Is your team’s effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) highly visible in the organization and a continual focus of attention?
Do team members tend to blame each other and the situation rather than taking responsibility to solve the problem?
Do team members mistrust each other and engage in unproductive conflict, or pursue their personal agendas?
Are team members ignoring or disregarding the seriousness of the situation?
Do you feel like you are spinning your wheels and nothing you try is working?
Have you been rehashing the same issues again and again without resolving them for at least 2 months?
In answering these 6 questions, Carol knew she needed executive coaching for herself and team coaching for her team to turn this situation around. How would you answer these 6 questions? How could a coach help you as a leader and turn your team around?
Together on our call, we discussed the key steps in our work together that included: enhancing her ability to lead the team, overcoming the team’s resistance to team effectiveness initiatives, building a more aligned and cohesive team, and increasing the team’s credibility with the rest of the organization. Stay tuned to my upcoming blogs where I share in more detail the key steps that lead to the success of Carol and her team.
About the Author
Dr. Tracy Cocivera is a Business Psychologist and a Principal with Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge Leadership Solutions. For over 12 years, Tracy has contributed to the success of leaders and their teams across many industries, including retail, technology, financial services, and energy and natural resources From established executives to emerging executives, Tracy partners with her clients to help them manage their organization and their careers in order to achieve significant business results.More Content by Tracy Cocivera