We recently hired “Cheryl” to fill a position on the leadership team. She was the most qualified candidate and comes with years of Club experience. However, Cheryl doesn’t get along with others on the team. She performs her job very well and we’ve received countless positive emails form Members. But, other department heads are voicing their concerns that Cheryl is unfriendly and curt. They are hesitant to approach her when they need her help to complete their own tasks. How can I make this work for all of us?
I recommend scheduling a meeting with Cheryl to talk this through. First, rule out potential outside factors. Ask Cheryl if everything has been going okay and give her a chance to share something that may be bothering her or causing the behavior (this may be internal or external). Make sure to ask open-ended questions and complete a thorough investigation so that you have all the facts. If Cheryl does not indicate that anything is wrong, explain that you and the Members really appreciate all of her hard work, but you are concerned because you have observed and received similar feedback from her peers about her behavior towards others on the team.
Coach Cheryl and offer her the opportunity to modify her behavior. Print some of the comments you’ve received from Members about what a wonderful job Cheryl is doing so that you can physically show her the positive things Members are saying. But also explain why it’s important to improve her communication and interaction with her team members. Talk through specific examples of the behaviors she needs to change. Ask Cheryl to reflect on the feedback and come up with an action plan. Then review it together and continue to coach and provide feedback.
If you haven’t done so already, I advise you to consider hosting a team-building session. A great method to explore personalities and communication styles is to have your team complete a DISC Assessment, and then schedule 1-3 hours to learn about the assessment itself and how each of your team members is wired. This will help your team members understand themselves better as well as how their type and style may be perceived by their coworkers. It will also give them tools for how to adapt their style for improved communication with other members of the team.
In the end, you will have to evaluate whether Cheryl is a culture fit for the team and whether she is willing to adapt as a team player. If she is unable to change her behavior, it may have a negative impact on the team and your Member experience.
Disclaimer: We will provide advice to the best of our abilities based on the information you provide. However, all facts and aspects of a situation should be explored in depth before making any legal or HR decisions.