Jody get's a promotion
Jody (names all changed for confidentiality reasons) came into coaching, not long after she'd received a promotion. A role in which she has 10 direct reports and approximately 200 indirect reports.
Jody took over the leadership of the division, from a very popular leader who had been side-ways moved. The Senior Leadership didn't believe Jody's predecessor was capable of moving this team, at the rapid pace they needed, to a new way of operating to remain viable.
Jody's team is resistant toward her
Jody's appointment wasn't greeted with open arms by her new team. Some team members were quite resentful ... they weren't happy with the new direction (their old way was easy, safe and comfortable). They missed their former leader and weren't pleased with an 'outsider' coming in.
From the start, several team members were looking for reasons to dislike and find fault with Jody. To find reasons to resist the new direction she was taking the division. To Jody's credit, she was very sensitive to this. Therefore, she worked hard to build trust between herself and her 10 direct reports.
Joshua is 'poisonous'
Things seemed to be progressing nicely. Then, after about a month or so in the role, Jody started to ask for guidance on how to deal with Joshua. Jody felt that Joshua had flamed much of the early tension in the team (toward her). She sensed that while he got his job done, he was poisonous.
For a few weeks, "Joshua Issues" became a theme of our coaching sessions. Each time we talked there was another Joshua challenge. She was kept finding fault with what he did and said.
Indeed, Joshua would at times behave in ways that would have been challenging to both Jody, and the team. However, because I was coaching others who interacted with Joshua, I had contrasting, more positive views of him.
It was time for a new approach
Time to help Jody to find a new way to view the situation. She was so caught up in finding 'wrongs' with Joshua, that she was no longer, rational, impartial or fair. The more she focused on what was wrong with him, the more he seemed to perform poorly (at least from Jody's perspective).
A leadership principle (that all leaders should be aware of) is:
"When you become a better leader, you have better team members."
So the challenge for Jody was to become a better leader of Joshua.
Rather than finding fault, laying blame and criticizing, it was her responsibility to discover a new way to lead Joshua. A way that engaged, inspired, and energized him.