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Problems with the Team Leader: A Mini Case Study – Part II

PProblems with the Team Leader: A Mini Case Study – Part IIRead Part I for background information.

What should the project sponsor do to fix the issues the team is having with the team leader?

The project sponsor needs to intervene quickly to change this situation. First, prior to a meeting, he may want to review the background of the team leader. How much experience does she have leading teams? If she has led other teams within the organization, have they been successful? What feedback has been given about her performance on the team? This will provide him with information about the team leader to help in guiding her to corrective actions that must be taken within a specified (agreed to) timeline. The challenge may be that many on the team no longer want to work with her and some are afraid of her. There may be a case to be made to replace the team lead; but I have a personal preference to try to correct the situation. It will have to be very carefully monitored! The last thing that needs to happen is to have retribution for the team speaking up. The sponsor will need to monitor progress toward correcting the situation and frequently “check in” with the team members to see how it is going. It may be of value to provide a coach that works alongside the team leader to guide her as she works to change her interactions with the team.

In the ideal situation, the following will happen on the team when all is working well:

  • Sharing leadership on the team (e.g., allowing others to lead meetings or problem solving sessions)
  • Encouraging participation in resolving issues and addressing conflicts on the team, following collaboratively-developed processes
  • Communicating frequently, openly and honestly with the team, sharing information about the project
  • Enabling for opportunities for the team to socialize and team build, which will enable for a much stronger and committed team
  • Taking time to understand the expertise and skills of each member of the team to ensure the team members have the right roles and responsibilities and are able to take on assignments that enable for learning opportunities