Is the Tail Wagging the Dog? 3 Steps for Regaining Control of Your Team

The trend in today’s workplace favors an organizational structure with less hierarchy between executives and their teams. While blurring the distinction between you and your direct reports can help to foster comfort and collaboration, it can make it difficult at times to tell who’s leading who.

When the people you’re leading take the reins and decide that they’re going to dictate the next course of action instead of the other way around, that’s where trouble starts. If you can’t help but wonder if the tail is wagging the dog, keep reading for our coaches tips on how to regain control of your team.

Step 1: Determine How Much Control You Want

As the team’s leader, it’s up to you and you alone to decide whether you need more control. If your group isn’t listening to you or you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for, something needs to change. On the other hand, if your team is exercising their voice and things are proactively moving forward because of it, you might want to consider encouraging them to have more control.

Based on current team performance, decide how much control you need. Does the team’s expectations need to be reset in order to adjust?


Step 2: If You Need to Reset Expectations, Ask Why

If you try altering expectations when they’re already not being followed, you’re not likely to get the results you want. If you need to start over fresh with what’s expected of the team and what they expect from you, it’s important that you take the time to get to the root of the problem so you can see where any miscommunication is coming from.

Is your team not being accountable? Are they not respecting all members of the group? Are they not listening or do they not understand your directions? Asking these questions will help you to see where the confusion about control lies and what you can do to make it better.


Step 3: Set Up Goals and Ground Rules

If you need to reset individual and team expectations altogether, pulling in an outside mediator is the quickest route to reestablishing expectations around control and getting everyone back on track. Holding an offsite meeting for the group is a great way to have the leader and the team address one another in the same room. For this type of work to run smoothly, an unbiased facilitator with a coaching background is an invaluable resource.

Use these jump-start thoughts to help you get en route to evaluating and revising your team’s current goals and ground rules:

  • What are your expectations of how the team operates? Are they shared among members?
  • When do you want your team to come to you for approval, permission, etc. in regards to an action that may impact the organization?
  • You may want to be consulted before moving forward with a purchase or decision that will cost over a certain amount of money, or you might want to be brought back into the loop when your team feels they need to hire someone new.


How to Use Your Offsite Time Wisely

Getting your team together at an offsite meeting is the best way to sort out any mix-ups, work toward improving the overall dynamic, and come to effective ground rules for control that solves the question of who’s leading who.

To make sure that your team’s offsite gets the highest possible ROI for your business, download Arden Coaching’s free educational offsite guide. This eBook features actionable tips from our professional facilitators on how to put on an offsite that will yield the best results.