How to lead a difficult team!

When working with teams, you’re essentially working with a given number of individuals, and problems are going to arise.

If you consider the sheer number of personality tests you can get your hands on, you can see there are such a variety of personality traits; including the strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and ways of working of each type.

Of course, by having a bunch of different personalities working on the same project, or in the same office, the chance of personality clashes is going to be huge.

Difficulties will arise for any given number of reasons, whether it’s the job or project itself, tension between team members, or employees feeling undervalued or ignored.

Who are you working with?

It’s ideal that you get a grasp of who you’re working with. Some people think on their feet, are full of ideas and like to take command or want decisions made now. Some will ‘wing it’ and others prefer a set of systems and procedures, and follow direction extremely well, no questions asked.

Giving your ideas people as task that requires they follow a specific set of directions and prevents them from freely adding suggestions or providing another perspective will have them walking.

Similarly, if you hand your systems and procedures team members a brief folio and say “Work with this”, they’ll feel overwhelmed and lacking direction.

Allocate Tasks Accordingly

Research shows that 25% of Australian employees are actively engaged in their roles, 25% disengaged and 50% doing just enough to keep out of trouble. Just under half of all employees resign, voluntarily, for not feeling valued.

It’s human nature to seek acknowledgement for what they’ve done, so whilst it’s important to give them acknowledgement, personally, it’s also important to put the right person in the right role.

Personal satisfaction plays a significant part in a person’s job satisfaction, so if someone get satisfaction out of ticking items off a list, they’re your direction-needing people.

Others will feel the need to be contributing ideas, finding a better/quicker/smarter way to do things. Not everything they suggest will be practical or useful, but allowing them a voice, and allocating roles accordingly will reduce the stress you have to deal with.


Communication is key and the basis of all resolutions for conflict or upset.

It’s not only important to communicate all aspects of the job that need doing to your team, but to communicate it ways they need to be communicated to.

Some will prefer a brief overview and run with it, others will work more effectively and efficiently with detailed instruction and specific information.

It’s also important to mention the pitfalls and hurdles, the grey areas and red tape that the project may present along the way, as well as ensuring you document everything. This provides a formal document or manual for all employees to access, for those who need to get back on track and those who need more information.

Effective communication between team members is imperative, as it is ineffective communication that can lead to conflict, disruption and mistakes being made. It also lead to employee disharmony and is relatively simple to overcome, or prevent.

Conflict Resolution

First and foremost, get on HRs good side and involve them where needed. They know what they’re doing and have the skills to support you, or take over if necessary.

Given each team members works in different ways, it is important that you obtain, hear and understand each side of the conflict. Often, it is as simple as one person needing more precise information, or the way they are asked (or told!) to do something, and the other party being frustrated at having to be more explicit, when they just don’t work like that.

Hear each side and ask both parties what they require to resolve the conflict. Document it and check in regularly to see how it’s going.

It’s important to not only address issues between team members as soon as they arise, but all issues that a team member may be experiencing, or that the project is giving immediately.

Getting onto them early ensures the problem does not get worse as well as making employees feel valued and appreciated, and that you are leading them well.

Would you love a coach? Contact me or click on the link below.

Check out my NEW Online Courageous Group Coaching too!

Reach out to me today as I would LOVE to hear from you at sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

About Sonia

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She lead by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has lead leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognized for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics for 2019

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Connect with Sonia at:

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616



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