Scenario: Idiot

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation:

A member of the team asks another in an angry voice – How can you be such an idiot?

 

Tags: Action Learning Coach

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Comments (10)

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    John.Tattersall

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    One possible approach to this as the AL coach could be to intervene and ask the group how they feel the session is going, specifically what is working well/not so well. The group most likely will pick up the fact that one of them as acted in aggressive manner towards someone else and this may open up a conversation around what should be done about that. If there is still tension, but the group are prepared to continue, then I would perhaps suggest a five minute break and grab the opportunity to quietly pick up with the person who made the “idiot” statement and check that they are aware that statements like that are unlikely to be helpful in maintaining the group dynamic.

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    Colin Yeow

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    I will intervene immediately to ask a question about how the group is feeling at this point (scale question). Following this, assuming that there are rather low ratings, I will ask how we can proceed from this point in order to raise the ratings.

    Depending on the response, I may continue to address the team issue by asking reflective questions such as “team, what can we learn about working in a team from this incident?” or “team, how does this apply to our organisation?” If the team does not want to address this at this point, I will make a note to ask these questions at the end instead.

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    Kelly

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    I would jump in right away in service of the group and learning. I would ask- Let’s do a check in. Outloud let’s go around and share how we think we are doing as a group. I might ask ” what else is “here”- to pull out the unspoken. If the comment to the individual is specifically noted- I might ask, “what was the impact of that on the group?” “what might we continue to do/do differently as a group”— then bring them back into the session.

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    info@reijbroek.nl

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    If a member of the group would act like this I immediately would take the moment. After a short silence I would intervene on ‘interaction level’. I would phrase the teammembers feedback; ‘ I saw you doing this and saying that’. To the team; what are your reflections on this ?! It depends on the follow up what my action would be after that. I would use this moment to learn ‘ to see what is happening and act’. I would invite every individual to reflect on that. May be at that moment, may be afterwards.

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    Angela

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    I will ask” what did we hear – can you repeat it again?” Then I ask the team” what will be the impact to our team?” “What can we do differently?”

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    Elizabeth Tsai

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    I would intervene immediately too. First, I would ask the team to give a scale of 1-10 on how are we doing as a team? Then go into the SID model by saying to the team: I have noticed that xxx has just said “How can you be such an idiot?” to xxx in an angry tone, do you all hear or notice it? What is the impact of this on our team? How should we as a team handle this type of situation? What are ways for our team to manage this kind of situation differently in the future?

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    Michael Bloemendal

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    Firstly, I would try to diminish the tension by trying humor. I would intervene immediately and say: Well, this certainly was a question and not a statement! I would then continue and ask the group: “Having this said, are there perhaps other rules of Action Learning that are broken by this question? Hopefully, someone will bring in the safety in the group, or something connected. Perhaps someone will mention decent behaviour, mutual respect or so. Anyhow, I will proceed asking whether someone in the group has to ask something to the one who asked the other “How can you be such an idiot”. After his explanation, assuming that it is something like ‘I got carried away’, or ‘I felt irritated because of lack of understanding’, I would ask the one who was called an Idiot what the impact was on him. I then would end the intervention with summarizing shortly what happened and mentioning the point of feeling safe in the group.

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    DrBea

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    It’s important to get the team to own and handle the situation. However, it’s equally important to diffuse the tension a bit in order to address it.

    I always start with the standard 3 questions – How are we doing as a team? What are we doing well? what can we do better?

    These 3 questions serve as a means for a team member to identify the situation as well as redirect the thinking to lower the tension.

    Additionally, we use future positive questions to focus the team where we want the behavior to be.

    If no one brought up the situation – I would ask – How respectful are we being of each other? why is it important that we show each other respect? What can we do to insure we treat each with respect?

    You’ll notice this series of questions focuses on the behavior – not the individual .

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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    terychua

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    I will intervene to ask how the team is doing from a scale of 1-10, followed by what are we doing well (this will divert their attention from the negativity mood to think about what had worked thus far) and lastly get them to address the challenge they are facing then by asking what they can do better.

    Depending on how the remaining session went, this can be a potential learning intervention to be brought up at the end of the session and to relate back to the organization, on how they will feel/ respond to such situations.

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    Sridar

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    I will ask, Team , what just happened? Is the team happy with the incident that just took place? What is the impact of such behaviour to the team dynamics? Does such manner help the team in coming up with the solution? How can the team ensure that such behaviour does not repeat?

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