How to Deal with a Poor or Difficult Team Player
There is no doubt that when you manage a team, there comes a time where you have to address a member, or members, who are not working well within the group. One thing I have learned about staff is that very few actually want to disrupt others or be the odd one out. They often are not even aware that their actions or behaviours are negatively affecting others or the team itself.
It is important to understand the underlying reason for the team player’s poor teamwork, which may include a lack of ability, low motivation or conflict with other team members. A good question to ask is, “Is this a once-off problem or does it have a lasting impact?”
Here are some tips to use when approaching this delicate situation. Remember that your actions should always be based on the premise that the team is more important or valuable than any individual.
Beyond Teambuilding pride ourselves in creating events, activities and challenges that push any team past mediocrity, allowing them to express themselves in a way that unleashes a team synergy that is often lying dormant. Our teambuilding is done in two definitive ways; formal and informal. Both have merit and are used to create the specific objectives of your particular team’s needs.
Tip 1: Assess the issue and consequences
Make sure we aren’t making a mountain out of a molehill! Assess the degree of err and then take the appropriate action, if minor a quick chat and re-direction is called for. When dealing with any form of irritation, focus on the irritation and not the person. Try to relate to the impact this may have on the team. If a major issue, then a more formal meeting should be called.
Tip 2: Confront the team member
There are serious consequences if you don’t confront inappropriate actions or behaviours. One, they will most probably continue and escalate, and second, others in the team will become confused by what is right and wrong and what is allowed and not allowed.
One should organise a one-to-one meeting where you, the manager can listen and discuss the issue with the team member. Always start with a positive comment, then state what it is that you observed or are concerned about. Explain the impact that this observation has and how you feel about it. Allow the team member to air his/her feedback and listen to the reasons or commitments to change. If the person is defensive you will need to possibly escalate the situation to getting evidence, however, try to keep the process as informal as possible.
Always ensure the meeting ends with a positive reaffirmation as to the value the person has to the business and the impact their commitment to their persona change will make.
Tip 3: Do regular check-ups
It is vital for a manager or leader to check in with their team members often, especially if they have made commitments to change. People like to know their commitments are acknowledged and noticed.
Tip 4: Regular training
During your weekly team pep talks, chat about hypothetical situations within the team, and the “what ifs” and allow the team to talk openly about these. This will enable them to better understand what behaviours define your team culture and which do not.
Take your team beyond poor teamwork problems with HiSide Training’s range of team interventions and development programs. Get in contact with us to see how we can build and improve your teams!