Seek openness to conflict-resolution when hiring

Sari Harrison

Head of Product at Esalen



Two of my directs (both leads) were not getting along with each other. Trust had lapsed pretty seriously and I was hearing from both of them that they were going to avoid working with each other. Which wasn't really an option given the interconnected nature of complex technology product management.

Actions taken

One of the directs involved had the same issue with a number of her peers. I listened to them both and heard mostly accusations from her and from the other personal reflection and also frustration. I worked with her on the "ladder of inference" concepts and how the stories we create about the motivations of others are often just that, stories we have created. I asked that she try assume positive intent. I also looked at the part I was playing and how much time I spent on fostering trust within my team. We brought in a third party consultant to work with us on organizational health. But ultimately, in spite of repeated attempts, the lead in question was not willing to see the positive intent of others.

Lessons learned

Hire for self-awareness, a willingness to grow and an understanding that everyone that is part of a system is responsible for how it is currently working.

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Sari Harrison

Head of Product at Esalen

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionCareer LadderSkill DevelopmentIndividual Contributor Roles

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