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When they can’t “work it out”

Each one tells me what the other has done wrong. Each thinks their behavior is justified, and each wants me to get involved. But come on, they are adults! So, I told them both to figure it out without me. And soon.

The last role any of us wants to take on at work is that of a parent, especially when we all have our own work to get through! So, it’s understandable that many managers resist the pull and tell team members to work it out on their own instead.

Largely, this impulse makes sense. In many instances, people can work things out on their own. But there is a point at which, we’d argue, managers need to get involved.

When to step in

it’s time to step in if team members have tried to work things out on their own and still can’t make peace.

Stop telling them to work it out: it’s like yelling at a garden to grow. Nurture the soil, plant it in the sun, and water it.

We all have blind spots, we all have egos, and we all have insecurities that, at times, prevent us from seeing things as they are. What’s more, it is altogether possible that the options on the table put teams in conflict such that other changes, beyond them, are required.

The bottom line

You are right not to get involved before they have tried to sort through the problem, but if they remain at impasse after trying, get involved or bring someone else in that can help them.

At HAVEN, we offer partnership coaching for 2–3 people who are struggling to get along precisely for this reason. If you want to learn more, read on.

We hope this helps!

As always, reach out if we can be helpful to you as you continue on the path of igniting exceptional performance at your company.

The HAVEN Team

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