Does Your Team Need Couples Counseling?

Couples therapy can help work relationships
Couples therapy can help work relationships
Image Credit: Henderson Hills

As a manager, we know that the key to our success is the ability to get along with the members of our team. It turns out that things go a bit deeper than that. In order for our team to be successful, everyone on the team has to get along with everyone else who is on the team. I’d like to be able to tell you that this is something that just seems to happen naturally; however, there are times that it doesn’t. When a manager is encountering a problem either with getting along with the team or with various members of the team getting along with each other, it might be time for everyone to go to couples counseling.

Why Couples Counseling?

So what is couples counseling and why do people go to it? People who are married and who have run into problems with their relationship, perhaps an affair, money problems, or just broken communication lines, will often seek out a counselor. The role of the marriage counselor is to listen to both sides and then, using their experience with other relationships that have had the same problems, provide inputs and get both sides to see how they can make the relationship better. It turns out that the same type of counseling may be needed to fix problems with workplace teams.

Counseling for teams makes a great deal of sense these days. All too often the members of your team may feel as though they are married to their jobs. As managers, we find ourselves being rated by our companies on things such as emotional intelligence and authenticity. The way that people view their jobs and what they want to get out of them has been undergoing a change over the past few years. When team members talk about what they want to get out of their jobs, they now use terms like passion, purpose, and fulfillment. What all of this means is that the relationships that we have with people at work are now more important to us than ever. The problem that we can run into is that our manager training has provided us with manager skills that just might not work.

There are a lot of different things that a counselor can help a team out with. All too often we find ourselves working in a dehumanized work environment. When team members talk with each other, they do it via either email or some sort of online chat tool. When candidates are interviewing to join a team, they do so by creating videos in response to prompts that they see on a screen. Members of your team who work remotely can end up feeling disconnected and not part of the team. Managers have problems with their younger team members who for some reason seem to be reluctant to pick up the phone and call someone when they need information. All of this can be topped off with the problem of workplace burnout that can happen to anyone.

How A Counselor Can Help

When people on a team are not working well together, a counselor can help them to take a look at why they are having problems. If the team members are having problems working together on projects, then perhaps the counselor will simply suggest that they both adopt the mantra “Because I do this, you can do that” in order to smooth things over. In cases where two team members communicate very well and others are having troubles trying to jump in, the solution may be as simple as rearranging the office seating in order to allow more osmosis to occur. It may take an outsider to suggest that we engage in more team building.

All of this counseling talk has to be taken carefully. There may be limits to just how far relationship advice can be used in a workplace environment. If the issues that your team is facing are fundamental, then spending time talking about interpersonal dynamics will only take you so far. We need to understand that there may be limits to the types of changes that emotional confrontation can create. However, companies may be more open to seeking the help of a counselor if they want to address both business and personal matters within the same conversation.

Managers need to understand that the members of their team may be suffering at work for a wide variety of reasons. When members of the team are facing a challenge, it’s going to be important that someone help them to find a way to address the real issues that they are facing. A counselor may start out a therapy session with team members by asking them to talk about their childhood. The counselor may ask a team member to share the team’s story – why does the team exist. Answers to these types of questions can quickly reveal imbalances and sources of tension within the team. Spending time with a counselor can help team members solve problems that appeared to be unsolvable. Managers need to understand that things have changed and it may be time to invite counselors out of the bedroom and into the workplace.

What All Of This Means For You

As managers, it is our responsibility to make sure that we are interacting well with our team. We also have to ensure that everyone within our team is able to work together. There will always be times where we run into problems making this happen. When we encounter situations like this, we need to be able to find a way to solve the problem. One solution that has become available to us is to reach out and bring a couples counselor into our workplace to work with the team.

A counselor is a person who can sit down with people who are having communication problems and listen to them. The counselor has dealt with problems like this in the past and can hopefully show all parties how they can resolve any issues that they are having. Counselors are becoming more important as the members of your team feel as though they are married to their jobs and as managers are being asked to be more empathetic to their teams. The types of problems that team members can be facing are complex and varied. Counselors can make simple suggestions for how team members can make changes once they have listened to what they had to say. There may be limits to what a counselor can do, but they can lend a helping hand when both business and personal issues get combined. Counselors are able to take the skills that they developed working with couples and now start to apply them to the workplace.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that a counselor should only work with two team members at a time?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So where do you want to work? This used to be a fairly easy question to answer: everyone went into the office when they went to work. However, that darn pandemic changed everything for everyone. We all spend a year working from home. A lot of us discovered that we liked working from home. There was no commute to the office required. We didn’t have to dress up. However, now that the pandemic is pretty much over, a lot of companies are telling their workers to come back into the office. However, what if a manager doesn’t want to go back to the office? What will the impact on their career be?