Lead your team or leave


It is tempting to think that all solutions to your team’s problems, all efforts to enhance your productivity can be imported from some wise expert. You can’t please everyone. But the chance of pleasing your patients or clients becomes drastically reduced if you can’t work as a team. The insidious and toxic nature of some workplace disagreements can easily overturn any attempt to improve the quality of your services. No amount of innovation or advertising will compensate for the team’s habit of sabotaging it’s own efforts especially when person X in this department does not like person Y in that department.

If you need a survey to gauge if there are effective working relationship where you work then you have failed and need to spend more time with your people. If, knowing this as a leader you have not tackled this matter head on then you need to consider your own position.

It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends. Albus Dumbledore

There is no easy way to remedy some situations. Years of resentment can spill over into acts of guerrilla warfare. Everyone will know why and many will chose to ignore the elephant in the room. This one was promoted, that one was not, this one gets to go to conferences, that one does not. The list is endless. The real issue is that their colleagues tolerate this behaviour. Perhaps because they depend on both for something that lets them get on with their day. There lies your real problem. While they may complain about ‘things not being done, or done properly’, they will not see that they are complicit in this dreadful set of circumstances. In this situation neither individual can continue to remain on board. Both have demonstrated that in their opinion their needs must come before the needs of those they serve. Your job as leader is to pave the way for their exit. Here’s Dumbledore again:

We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.

Your next task is to work out why your colleagues tolerated the situation and why you didn’t spot this coming until now.

Picture by Craig Sunter

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