Scenario: Pulling Rank(2024)

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: A higher ranking participant of the team decides to pull rank and asks another team member – “Do you want to stay employed?”

Tags: Action Learning, ActionLearning Coach, Team Coach, WIAL, WIAL Action Learning, WIAL Talk

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    Thu DO

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    Hello team, I’ve observe that A asks B “Do you want to stay employed”. What is the impact of this on team? How our team want to handle it?

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    Dominika Pupkowska-Bral

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    At the beginning of each ACTION LEARNING meeting that I lead, I always tell the participants that in the AL group everyone is equally important in working on the problem and I ask them directly “What would you say if the organizational hierarchy in which you work on a daily basis didn’t matter at these meetings? From my experience, it is people in higher positions who always agree in these situations. Moreover when introducing the group to ACTION LEARNING, I say that no one judges anyone at these meetings, and that this is the only way to create spectacular solutions. Such an introduction to the meeting gives us clear and transparent rules of cooperation.

    Despite such an introduction, if during the process the question from management was asked “Do you want to remain employed?” I would definitely stop the group to look at the situation. I would ask, “What happened now? How does this relate to the rules we agreed upon in the preliminary contract? How does this affect the group’s work? How does this affect the atmosphere?” And finally, when examining this situation with the group, I would ask the group; “What can we agree on to continue working in a good atmosphere and focus on the problem?”
    I am convinced that when a group opens up about the negative impact it has on teamwork, a higher-ranking team member will change his behavior and maybe even apologize. This would certainly be a big step towards improving the culture of this organization.

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