As we step into 2024
I'm excited to share some insights and strategies from Sticky Agile that can help improve team dynamics and foster a more positive work environment.
In the last blog post, I discussed the challenge of managing polarizing conversations. Today, let's dive into one of the most common issues discussed in our ScrumMaster and Advanced ScrumMaster classes – dealing with that one team member. In class, I hear "Yeah, but I got a guy..."
Identifying the Traits
We've all encountered individuals who seem to dominate discussions consistently, insist on being right, and exhibit inflexibility. While these traits may make collaboration challenging, it's essential to recognize that these individuals aren't inherently bad people. Instead, they are often just unaware of the impact of their actions.
Addressing the Issue Head-On
The first step is to engage in a direct and private conversation with the individual. Avoid a vague or uncertain tone; instead, clearly and compassionately state the issue. For instance, sharing specific instances and their impact can help convey the message effectively. Drawing inspiration from Crucial Conversations, a book I highly recommend can aid in preparing for such discussions.
Real-Life Turnaround: Bob's Story
Facing a performance improvement plan due to his detrimental attitude, Bob was on the brink of being terminated. I invited Bob to a conversation, and I started out by acknowledging his positive contributions. Interestingly, his defensiveness eroded, and he was able to shift his perspective. Bob felt valued. When I went on to address the problematic behavior, I aimed to balance directness with empathy. Bob, feeling respected and valued, became open to change.
Providing Constructive Feedback
When offering feedback, adopt the approach of 'Gifts and Greats' from Jean Tabaka’s book called Collaboration Explained. Highlight their strengths (Greats) and areas for improvement (Gifts). Emphasize that they have the power to choose whether to act upon these insights, framing the changes as opportunities for personal and professional growth should they choose to accept them.
Modeling Desired Behavior
Lead by example and initiate open conversations about your actions. Encourage team members to share concerns or frustrations openly, fostering a culture of trust and collaboration. Addressing potential irritants proactively sets the stage for a positive and threat-free environment.
The Ripple Effect
Positive change often starts with one person. By employing these strategies, we aim to create a ripple effect within the team. Some individuals may not be aware of the negative impact of their behavior, making self-awareness a crucial aspect of team dynamics.
Sharing Success Stories
Individuals like Bob, may not be aware of the negative impact of their behavior, making self-awareness a crucial aspect of team dynamics. In my experience, once made aware of their impact on others, individuals can undergo significant positive transformations. While changing behavior isn't easy, providing support and guidance can lead to remarkable outcomes.
I'm passionate about fostering positive interactions and helping individuals become more self-aware. While there may be instances where someone isn't a fit for the team, our goal is to explore avenues for growth and improvement.
I encourage you to try these tips and share your experiences with me. Your journey and insights are valuable, and I look forward to hearing about the positive changes within your teams.
Be respectful. Build trust.