There was a group working on a portfolio of financial products that I was engaged to help. Upon exploratory conversations, there were two things that were quite obvious.
The head of the group was disappointed with the lack of transparency and planning by the teams working under him. On the other hand, the teams felt they were not appreciated enough by management. Communication needed to improve between parties and clarity on expectations need to be set.
The main thing we had to do in order to improve the situation was largely parsing and “translating” what the head of the group wanted to happen, into something that would be better understood from where the teams are coming from. Unfortunately, there was a thick political cloud surrounding the teams so in this case, simple things could easily be misinterpreted.
In addition, there was a lack of psychological safety, so that no one was able to voice concerns or opinions and therefore wouldn’t speak up unless asked directly.
So the next step was to become a bridge between the teams and the head of the group to get things moving. This was to ease the teams into it while also trying to help the head of the group communicate what he expects in a less prescriptive manner. I had to do this for the first couple of months, then bringing in two trial teams along.
Eventually, we got to a point were all the teams themselves directly worked with the head of the group with confidence. Two way clarification sessions became regular, and the best part is they are happening without me needing to be there anymore.