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Working with two teams who had taken out grievances against each other

The Need

We were approached by this organisation to help manage some very thorny issues in their teams. With a high profile in their sector and office relocation imminent, the senior management team recognised that the frustrations which had been allowed to build up over time amongst staff and managers, needed to be resolved for the whole organisation to function effectively.

The ongoing issues had led to misunderstandings and frustrations and had culminated in the managers falling into two camps. One had taken a complaint out against the other and then the other reacted with a grievance, so when we became involved emotions were running very high.

Our Solution

We proposed a mix of facilitated sessions and one to one coaching sessions.

The group sessions helped the managers air their concerns and feelings, which had built up and critically helped them find a way to move forward. We supported them in identifying the behaviours and standards which they should be role modelling as a leadership team with a particular emphasis on getting peer agreement, so that they could all hold each other accountable. It also enabled them to then tackle some of the staff issues from a credible standpoint.

They were then able to set clear standards for their teams around capability and behaviour and particularly around the “small” issues, which had been the cause of much of the historical tension… such as guidelines around overtime, expense claims and time keeping. With a consistent approach, it became easier to become a united management team again.

The one to one coaching sessions focussed on helping each senior manager to address the particular challenges they had in their own areas and move each of them forward with a specific action plan.

The programme has helped to clarify expectations for managers and staff alike and has made a big difference to team motivation and communication. The Director commented that the sessions not only helped them resolve long standing disagreements, but also left them a stronger management team, ready to make the most of the changes they were facing.