When having a Peacemaker Contributes to Team Dysfunction

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When having a Peacemaker Contributes to Team Dysfunction

I once advised an executive team that operated more like a group of fiefdoms than a cohesive organization. Disagreements were common which permeated the entire organization.

What seemed to help was one senior executive who played to role of Peacemaker. When conflicts arose, he would find a way to achieve detente. Many viewed him as the glue that held the organization together.

Eventually, the Peacemaker determined that he no longer enjoyed his role, so he decided to leave the organization. As you might imagine, there was significant anxiety when his departure was announced and there was a general fear that without the Peacemaker, chaos would ensue. To everyone’s surprise, though, there were very few meltdowns after his departure. Without the Peacemaker, the executive team was now forced to work together. For the first time, they were standing on a wire without a net, but they quickly realized that the wire was not actually that high. When there were disagreements, it was not that hard to work them out.

Following are some tips for building team effectiveness

  1. Identify who should own individual problems and agree that while other senior staff can help solve the problem, the owner has overall responsibility for finding a solution. 
  2. Be aware that bad news does not improve with age. If you own a problem that may impact others, make sure they are aware ASAP. In most cases, they will probably want to participate in finding a solution. 
  3. Ask “How can I help?”. When someone else owns a difficult problem don’t stand by and watch as they flounder or dig themselves into a deeper hole, Offer to help. 
  4. Recognize that team members will have style and communication differences and then leverage them. Behavioral motivations can be hard to identify. A behavioral assessment tool can provide a quick insight into how to work together better. 
  5. Remember that it takes more than one person to escalate a conflict. Keep your solution hat on. 

Patrick Rogan, AUTHOR
For the past 25 years, Patrick has helped large and small organizations meet their strategic talent needs. He specializes in developing programs that help his clients attract, manage, and retain top talent. He is also a certified Predictive Index Consultant.

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