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UK Coaching Team
Self-care and development

Addressing Dysfunction in an Interdisciplinary Team

In the ninth in a series, Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason Tee offers his experiences and thoughts on influencing change from inside the team

In the book ‘Switch: How to change when change is hard’, Chip and Dan Heath state that if you want to influence change, it is much easier if you are in a position of power. If a CEO wants to influence change, they simply change the rules, or hire or fire someone. However, in most cases where change is required, the people who want to influence that change do not hold the power. In these situations, other strategies are needed to change the environment.

In this guide, Jason shares his thoughts for influencing positive change in interdisciplinary teams that are not functioning effectively.

Seek and establish clarity: what looks like resistance is often lack of clarity

If a member of your interdisciplinary team is not providing you with what you require to support your role, consider, first, that perhaps they don’t clearly understand what you need.

The opposite also applies: if a member of the team has become frustrated with you, perhaps you aren’t providing them with what they need.

Often, in close, highly connected teams with many interactions, colleagues do not speak up about what they require, because they don’t want to ‘rock the boat’. This is an ineffective approach and often leads to further frustration.

Be clear to be kind. Make time to ask fellow members of your interdisciplinary team exactly what they require from you and make sure you have an agreed timeframe. Clarify with them what ‘done’ looks like. Encourage them to provide the same level of clarity for you too.

Be brave and have these conversations with the team leader. A great deal of interpersonal tension can be avoided when people are clear on what is expected of them.

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