One-on-one conversations are the way to go when an individual is in need of direction, coaching or correction, but there are times when your entire team needs a course correction and clarity. On these occasions, it is helpful to “principalize” the subject rather than personalize.
First, identify the issue: Rather than address a circumstance identify the issue and set expectations. For example, “I would like for us to re-think our time away policy. I think we run the risk of overextending and so I’d like to lay out my expectations here”…. Avoiding personal examples and clearly stating your expectations allows the group to digest together.
Second, address the consequences: When expectations aren’t met, there are going to be disappointments or aggravation if the expectations aren’t reinforced. In a group, addressing and foreshadowing consequences is helpful. In the above example one might say, “ When we don’t respect the time away policy it has a personal consequence (direct reports feel disrespect and might begin seeing the individual as disrespectful), it has a relational consequence (there is possible tension that builds up), it has team consequences (the team effectiveness is slowed or complicated and may affect performance), and ultimately professional consequences (an individual who is persistently disrespectful of the team may not be on the team).
Finally, attempt to get buy in: “ Do you see how this might adversely affect the team?” “ Can I challenge you guys to be together on this?” “ Are there any questions or concerns?”
One of the great things about Team Coaching is it gives everyone the opportunity to align simultaneously and ask questions or concerns. Avoid the personalization when dealing with a team issue is key. If it’s a personal issue, deal with it privately, but if it’s a team issue principalize the issue, clarify the consequences and get buy in.