Scenario: Unkind Gesture

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: A member arrives to a three hour session one hour late. You conduct coaching inquiries and he is smoothly integrated into the team. 15 minutes later he is exchanging friendly but sarcastic comments with a team member that end with him using a hand gesture toward that member that would cause most folks to take offense.

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

Trackback from your site.

Comments (6)

  • Avatar

    Yannie Hua

    |

    I would intervene by asking the following questions to the team:

    1. When he joined, I would ask the team: Hi team, what did you notice? What is important for the whole team? what impact would be if someone is late? How can we handle the situation?
    2. If he exchanged ideas with one member, I would intervene by asking the team: What do you notice about the team? Are we contributing equally and sharing with the whole team? What are the ground rules for us to work together? What is our purpose to be here?
    3. What is the impact of the behavior to every team member? How are we going to work as a team in the future? What do we learn from here?
    4. What can we take our learning here to the future work and the whole organization? Even our life?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Katherine Steele

    |

    Interventions at this point are the name of the game. Some example interventions: How are we doing respecting the team? How are we doing not having side conversations? If the team had already established some norms this would be another opportunity to address those norms: How are we doing adhering to our norms? If the team had not addressed norms their responses to the intervention could lead us down the path of addressing those issues? How could we capture your suggestions? How are we doing making sure we use all of the tools available to us? Another option is to say I have observed some side conversations, what is the impact of that on the groups progress?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Melissa Cummings

    |

    Since a hostile or offensive hand gesture would threaten the safety of the group in terms of that member feeling attacked or vulnerable and the rest of the group placed in an uncomfortable situation, I would immediately stop and check-in with the group. I would stick to facts and not make assumptions about how the gesture affected the group, but I would say “I’m observing a negative interaction between A and B. How are we doing at respecting each other?” Once the group answered the question, I would say, “OK, how does the group want to handle the situation?” That way, the group is encouraged to have their own dialogue with minimal guidance and establish their own norms. I would support whatever actions the group decides to take, and follow up with “How will (action) affect the group? The group’s ability to help (Problem Presenter) solve this problem?” I would then flow into a regular check-in, following the script, ultimately allowing the Problem Presenter to determine what would help him/her most, and continue with the session. If the person who made the hand gesture is allowed to continue to participate, I would watch his or her behavior closely, noting any continued issues that could affect the group or that might need to be addressed as a subsequent teaching opportunity.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Susan Mozian Mozian

    |

    As the Action Learning Coach, I am tasked with creating a safe and supporting environment. I would ask the group how they feel about having a late newcomer to the group? Also, when the group notices the hand gesture, I would ask: How do we want to handle this? I would support the group’s action or consensus and maintain a safe and supporting environment.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Monika Kantowicz-Gdanska

    |

    At the moment when one of the participants is coming late I would ask the group: “How do we feel about team member being one hour late? How does it impact our action learning process? What are the conclusions for a future sessions?” This is a great occasion for the whole team to learn. In the situation when the side talk is being held I would say: “I can see we have some side talks. What do you think about that? How do the side talks affect what we are to achieve here? What would you suggest?” The hand gesture is the most difficult for me. I would probably intervene like that: “I can observe we use some gestures along with words during the discussions and some of these gestures are quite strong. How do you feel about your body language while we work? Does it help to proceed?” Some norms of behavior differ from group to group. Some gestures can be accepted in one team and not accepted in the other. Hopefully such intervention would reveal if the gesture observed was a problem to a group or not.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Antonio Nadres

    |

    My intervention: Assuming that the member’s late arrival had already been addressed and thus said person is already involved in the discussion, then the rude behaviour is a separate incident that needs to be surfaced as follows: a. “Team, it seems that there is a commotion within the team, yes or no?” b. “How are you feeling and how does this affect our team?” c. “What do we need to do to improve the team dynamics?” d. “How de we want to proceed?”

    Reply

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.