by Erinna McKissick

Team building is not as easy as it sounds. Especially when new stressors like a world pandemic, remote work schedules, and an exhausting amount of Zoom meetings are factored in. A recent leadership survey from ExecOnline polled thousands of leaders across the U.S. concerning their greatest challenges. When asked what hurdles are preventing effective remote work, nearly two-thirds (65%) said “relationships” because of the difficulty to build and maintain them within teams and with clients. In addition, 33% identified their biggest problem as communication.

The stark reality is that leading teams today is not the same as it was before COVID-19 shut down the world. As a result, many leaders are struggling to successfully lead their teams. This is partially because the overall mindset, priorities, and agendas of team members have shifted drastically over the last two years. While this may seem disheartening at first, recognizing how to identify the growth opportunities in a “perfect storm” is the best way to help your team reconnect and start rebuilding strong relationships.

What is the “Perfect Storm”? Literally speaking, a perfect storm is a meteorological event aggravated by a rare combination of circumstances. For this purpose, it is the combination of three common leadership challenges that can either sink an organization or propel it to the next level: communication, conflict, and change. Anytime an organization is being negatively affected by these three issues, it will create the “perfect storm” within the company. Understanding how to seize underlying growth opportunities is the key to keeping business afloat in the face of high employee turnover, organizational dysfunction, and a loss of profit and productivity.


The cost of miscommunication within an organization is exorbitantly high. When teams suffer from miscommunication or ineffective communication, it breeds a contentious work culture where dynamic personality differences supersede priorities and productivity. This issue is remedied by providing team members with a safe place to voice their concerns, feedback and frustrations, as well as equipping them with the proper tools needed to interact with other team members more effectively.


Collaboration is frequently accompanied by conflict. While considered to be unpleasant and sometimes intimidating, conflict doesn’t have to be a problem. By providing a team with practical ways to turn negative conflict into positive conflict by mindfully choosing the appropriate responses to difficult situations, individuals become empowered to better navigate their differences.


Initiating change early and creating a culture of leadership will assist a team in discovering how to properly adapt to the changes taking place within the organization. As they become more involved in helping to lead the change, it will become embedded in the company’s culture, ensuring the overall transformation that you desire.

To successfully navigate a team through the perfect storm of communication, conflict, and change management issues, practice the discipline of redefining challenges as growth opportunities. Remember, all GREAT solutions begin as problems.

Erinna McKissick, M.A., is an experienced leadership consultant, certified mediator, and change management specialist. She will be presenting “3 Cs for a Productive Team: Communication, Conflict and Change Management” on May 10 at the TCC Corporate Center for Learning & Development. Click here to register.