I was on the phone the other day with a potential client. I asked him why he was considering hiring me as an executive coach.
He listed off a few reasons:
- become a better mediator for his toxic team
- improve the culture of his team
- develop leaders on his team
- determine the next steps in his career
I told him I can help with all of them, except I will not make him a better mediator.
He said, ‘Why can’t you do that?’
I said, ‘I can, but that is not what you need for a toxic team. Matter of fact, it will make it worse.’
He said, ‘why will it make it worse?’
Mediation is not the solution.
Becoming a better mediator is not going to help a team. In fact, it will hurt it.
Instead, he needs to equip and empower his team to solve problems on their own.
Insecure and controlling leaders (and parents!) want to be the mediator so they can be involved in every detail and try to control the results to what they think they want.
These leaders (and parents) are limiting the growth and development of individuals to resolve a conflict.
Instead of wanting to be the problem solver, you need to release control so others can solve the problem on their own and you can focus on other issues that are more valuable.
What is the right way to resolve conflict and improve culture?
Next time you have two employees (or two kids) bickering about each other, have them talk to each other first.
When the employee says, ‘Susy said or did this…’
Ask them, ‘Have you talked with Suzy about it?’
If they say, ‘No.’
Then you need to tell them to go speak with Suzy first and try and get it resolved.
If that does not work, then the three of you can talk about it (if they both report to you). If they both don’t report to you, then get an authority figure that neither reports to.
Why is this a problem?
Jesus knew this would be a problem in the office and at home. Which is why he lays out this strategy in Matthew [18:15]-20.
When people don’t talk to each other directly, gossip is created and has a damaging effect on the team/family.
One of the guilty parties, Person A, will go and tell other people about the situation and make them all mad at Person B. At the same time, Person B, will go tell their group of friends what Person A did, and now they are mad at them. So, you end up having people not even involved in the original situation, now with judgment and frustration against other people.
Great leaders encourage and empower their team to resolve conflict fast and put a stop to gossip. These leaders create a culture of teamwork.
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