Fixing A Team That Management Doesn’t Like

Bryan Minihan

Chief Technology Officer at Autoshop Solutions



"I have been hired a number of times to fix teams. I'll meet a CEO of a company and they'll say something along the lines of 'My development team hates me and they never get anything done. They're constantly bad-mouthing me and taking time off of work. Can you come in and fix it?'"

Actions taken

I usually start by meeting with the team first to get a sense of the real nature of the problem before I start. I then will come into the company and spend the first six months just listening to people. In the first week, I spend about an hour with each team member. Following this, I establish a monthly hourly meeting with each team member. These meetings allow them to talk about how they were doing personally and how they felt about their career. I usually end each meeting by asking (and noting actions for myself) "What can I do to help you overcome any personal obstacles, and help you meet your career goals here at the company?"

In one of these cases, I was working for a company called Health Decisions. In listening to the team, the executives, and the rest of the company, I came to realize the dynamics of the company itself, rather than just the team I was there to fix. Every time I've been brought in to fix a problem with a team, it's been the company that has a problem, not just the team.

Often, the problem is around communication. In this particular case, I found that over the course of several years the CEO had made several comments which the team had found insulting. He hadn't meant them in the way they were taken, but they were seen as disparaging. In addition, another executive in the company would often forget the names of members of this team despite working with them every day and would mix up two people in the team who had the same name, despite them doing completely different jobs and looking completely different from one another.

After listening to these issues for the first six months, I then took my next step and decided to tackle the issues. For example, I sat down with the executive who forgot team members names and explained how offensive it was that she worked with the same people all the time but couldn't be bothered remembering their names. She didn't see the issue as that important, so it took me a long time to convince her. I explained the issue in terms of the importance for the company as well as the team, and this helped to convince her.

Lessons learned

"Usually, when management has a problem with your team, the problem will lie with both management and the team. You have to talk and communicate with management to understand their problems as much as you do with the team. It won't work if you try to just fix one side of the problem."

Be notified about next articles from Bryan Minihan

Bryan Minihan

Chief Technology Officer at Autoshop Solutions

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthDiversity and Inclusion InitiativesIndividual Contributor RolesLeadership RolesEngineering ManagerTeam & Project Management

Connect and Learn with the Best Eng Leaders

We will send you a weekly newsletter with new mentors, circles, peer groups, content, webinars,bounties and free events.


HomeCircles1-on-1 MentorshipBounties

© 2024 Plato. All rights reserved

LoginSign up