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Feedback Unscripted 5 of 9

In honor of our Learning Cycle Topic of Giving Effective Feedback, my friend and colleague, Angela Fucci, agreed to spend some time on zoom with me role-playing “good” and “bad” attempts at handling a variety of common feedback situations. We laughed, stumbling through some of the awkward conversations, and then discussed our key take-aways.

Jealous Teammates

Work can be competitive, and often as a manager you will find yourself in a situation where two people on your team don’t like or trust each other. Having a hierarchical structure naturally leads peers to compete as they work their way up in an organization, and this adds to the challenge of facilitating trusting peer relationships on your team. But if each individual on your team is confident, capable and a solid contributor, there will be more collaboration and less competition. Often working through relationship issues on a team is more about working with each individual to help them see their own worth and career path and less about the drama in the relationship itself.

Here are some keys to facilitating positive relationships among team members:

1. DON’T get irritated and tell the two people to “learn how to get along”. They know they need to get along and have likely been trying to some degree. If they are in constant conflict, they’ve likely miscommunicated quite a bit over time, lost trust for each other, and are just coping with each other at this point. Digging a little bit deeper is hard work, but it is your responsibility as a manager if you hope to have a high performing team.

2. DO think about them both as individuals as well as about their relationship. Each of them likely has individual needs that they don’t trust the other to respect, but they may also be struggling to get those needs met in general. Find out what each person needs to thrive and feel capable and confident, and work on that just as much as on helping them build their relationship.

3. REMEMBER that trust on a team is critical to performance and trust comes from getting to know and respect one another. Once you’ve worked with each person individually, having them collaborate on a low-stakes project, or putting them in a situation where they have to spend time really getting to know each other, will help them repair whatever was broken.

In the video below, Angela and I role play and discuss a situation where one team member is getting celebrated for her achievement and another one can barely disguise her resentment. The video runs approximately 9 minutes. Enjoy!

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