The Board of Directors had learned from previous experience that to leave a situation such as this unaddressed had serious ramifications on the organization. A few years ago they had to make a staffing change and did not bring in a coach to provide professional guidance to their employees. They noticed that their employees were distracted, rumors started about job security, voluntary attrition and there was a lack of trust and decreased productivity. They decided to bring a clinician on site to prevent disruption to the work flow and allow their staff to process the change.
Once I arrived, I met with two managers and they briefed me on the situation and how the staff were doing. The staff were surprised and disappointed about the change and wanted to have the opportunity to process this with me. Staff were informed they could meet with me on an individual basis. Several employees availed themselves of the service. They were able to start to process the leadership change and how it impacted them as well as their relationship with the executive director. We also covered coping strategies and how to maintain focus on advancing the mission of the organization. Given the fact that several employees wanted to meet individually, the managers extended my time on site. One of the primary reasons that the intervention was successful, was the support of the senior leadership team. Their commitment and concern in helping the staff process the loss of this leader made all the difference.
The employees expressed some common themes in our meetings, and they agreed that I could share this information with the managers as long as confidentiality was preserved. The managers and I also spoke about how they want to handle staffing and/or leadership changes more effectively in the future, and I stressed that their decision to bring in a coach/clinician was key to having a better outcome then they had had during the previous staffing change that had not gone well. Managers were also informed that I could schedule additional time with them and/or their staff if that was needed.
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