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Conflict Is Correct. A Team Approach to Leading Assertive Community Treatment Programs. Telecare San Diego Mary Woods, MFT, MAAC Martin Celnar, ASW Elizabeth Whitteker, LCSW. QUESTIONS. What have been your challenges related to leadership? What do you hope to gain from this presentation?.

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Conflict is correct
Conflict Is Correct

A Team Approach to Leading Assertive Community Treatment Programs

Telecare San Diego

Mary Woods, MFT, MAAC

Martin Celnar, ASW

Elizabeth Whitteker, LCSW


What have been your challenges related to leadership?

What do you hope to gain from this presentation?

Reasons for a structured leadership
Reasons for a Structured Leadership

  • Complex changes to the program and its staffing pattern

  • Desire for a cohesive leadership team that could guide the entire program to work toward the same goals such as:

    meeting all contract objectives

    assure a well adjusted professional team that provided Recovery Model Services.

  • Need for increased Accountability from all Leadership and staff.

Timeline of changes to program
Timeline of Changes to Program

  • 2006 Downsized from four Team Leads to two Team Leads

  • 2008 the Management Team had a New Clinical Director and Team Lead Start

  • 2008 Began using the Lencioni Leadership Model

  • Nov 2010 $180,000 cuts to program (lost 1 line staff & 1 doctor)

  • Dec 2010 Reconfigured programs to allow for MHSA funding

  • Jan 2011 Program was augmented by $200,000 to include a Supportive Housing Component. (added 3 direct service staff)

  • Feb 2011 Awarded a 3rd 100 person ACT team with an InReach component Some management staff from existing program were shared.

  • May 2011 Rewarded original ACT & Case Management Service

Desire vision for a cohesive leadership team
Desire & Vision for a Cohesive Leadership Team

We were experiencing:

  • A Management Team; not a Leadership Team

  • False harmony

  • A split between Management Team and Clinical Teams

  • Information was not consistently being carried forward to the line staff

  • A silo based leadership team, left holes in accountability

  • Team goals were not consistently aligned with program goals

A cohesive leadership team
A Cohesive Leadership Team

  • Serves as the Primary Team for Team Leads

  • Identifies and works on a clear program goals

  • Allows Leaders to give clear cascading message regarding program operations to all staff

  • Assures Accountability between Leadership members based on trust and the ability to demand debate

  • Allows all members to have a voice in program operations and decisions

  • Assures daily tasks are linked directly to the greater good – adds meaning and purpose

Cross cultural characteristics of a desirable leader
Cross Cultural Characteristics of a Desirable Leader

  • Honesty

  • Forward looking

  • Inspiring

  • Competency

  • Intelligence

Accountability among leadership
Accountability Among Leadership

Would lead to:

  • Improved Staff Moral

  • Align Responsibilities and duties

  • Leaders independently function while keeping a consistent message/goal

  • Staff ownership of contract objectives and goals

    • Staff would track and take responsibility for their own productivity

How to implement
How to Implement

All must buy in – leadership team must earn respect as a unit

Weekly meetings to stay on track with the mission by tracking the scoreboard

A meeting agenda created by everyone

Form cascading messages to be brought to the morning meetings.

Scoreboard review
Scoreboard Review

Defining Objectives

Our leadership team
Our Leadership Team


TL Believe





TL Hope


TL Dream






Regional Admin.



How to implement1
How to implement

An ACT program has to agree to a leadership team - not just the leader with a top-down approach.

The staff must buy in – the leadership team must earn respect as a unit

“ We” statements from all leaders when addressing staff

Weekly meetings to stay on track with the mission and track the scoreboard

Appreciating differences
Appreciating Differences

Personality types on the team affect core issues of communication, team culture, leadership, change, problem solving, and stress.

Insight into each other’s style allows us to play on strengths and learn how exit our comfort zone when necessary.

Making an effort to understand and respect these differences can help develop trust

Our leadership team1
Our Leadership Team

















Examining your preferences
Examining your Preferences

Source of Energy

Extroversion or Introversion


Decision Making

Thinking or Feeling


Taking in Information

Sensing or Intuition


Life style

Judging or Perceiving


Interpersonal insight
Interpersonal insight

Elizabeth likes to question a lot - which makes

people feel attacked and un-trusted

Karen avoids conflict, with preference to “smooth”

Chris can be emotive when pressured

Mary can interpret a “ laid back” demeanor as not being dedicated

Martin tends to think in “black & whites”

John likes to talk things through for longer than others sometimes want to listen

Wanda needs time to process information and doesn’t like to be “ put on the spot”

Denise can be “ to the point” which can be interpreted as harsh or unwelcoming.

Exit comfort zones
Exit comfort zones

Elizabeth tries to explore rather than directly challenge

Karen forces conflict when necessary

Chris tries to be less emotive

Mary tries to ask question to demand debate & tries to avoid jumping to conclusions

Martin challenges himself to allow “abstract”

John tries to be more concise

Wanda tries not to act defensive when put “ on the spot”

Denise tries to be more helpful than critical

Questions to ask
Questions to ask:

What are my values, how do they help motivate me?

Am I working to help my team function better?

Why do I want to have well functioning team?

Do I have a clear idea of how I am making the team function better?

A look at team functioning
A Look at Team functioning

The functions of a team are interrelated. Any one aspect of team functioning can affect the teams ability to reach its goals.


Trust that people are being genuine

Trust that our efforts prioritize the success of the team and the company, not the individual

Trust that our processes come from a genuine concern about our collective success, not because of personal politics.

“Benefit of the doubt”.

Absence of trust
Absence of Trust

People concealing their weakness and mistakes: In-vulnerability.

Have difficulty taking criticism

Hesitate to ask for or offer help to team members

Jumping to conclusions about the intentions of others without asking or seeking clarification

Constructive conflict
Constructive Conflict

Conflict helps develop new ideas

Can provide an understanding of your team's perception

Can help the team avoid a bad decision

Can help foster commitment to the plan

Lack of conflict leads to artificial harmony
Lack of conflict leads to artificial harmony.....

Conflict is necessary for an effective functioning team.

Setting the rules for conflict
Setting the Rules for Conflict

Should conflict be managed?

What should the rules be?

What is the Leader's role?

Venting on its own will not improve the functioning of a team.

Clarify and Plan.

In your team meetings
....In your Team Meetings

Is there an open airing of conflicting ideas?

How long do these discussions last?

Were different view points fully heard?

What are the outcomes?

Was there a buy in afterward?

Is consensus the ultimate goal?


Constructive conflict is more efficient then consensus in creating commitment

A plan does not need to be perfect to get commitment but it needs to have clarity

The more complicated the plan the more commitment you will need.


Do I feel comfortable being held accountable by my team?

Will my team will hold me accountable

Can I feel comfortable in holding others accountable?

Do I want to be accountable to my team?

Commitment fosters accountability.

Attention to results
Attention to Results

What it is that you are going to trying to accomplish?

The team has to monitor its processes to ensure that energies remain focused

Success of the individual vs. Success of the team

Knowledge is not enough application is key
Knowledge is not enough, Application is Key

Team dynamics needs to be monitored regularly

Team dynamics change just like everything else

“Updating” where you team stands takes time and should be separate from “nuts and bolts" issues

Stuff happens
“Stuff Happens”

Dynamics and functioning of the team will be tested

Perceptions of team functioning will change

Setbacks will be opportunities for learning

Thanks to
Thanks to

  • Patrick Lencioni & the Table Group for you guidance and support

  • We encourage you to check out his books:

    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

    • Death by Meeting

  • James Kouzes & Barry Posner

    • Authors of The Leadership Challenge