How to Deal with Team Member Personalities

disruptive-behavior It only takes one difficult personality on a team to make the team unproductive and the team environment unpleasant for everyone else. There are ways to deal with these team members and hopefully get them back to being a constructive member of the team.

With proper guidance and coaching these bad apples can be shined up into good team members. There are always a few who do not turn around and for those there is always progressive discipline.

The Overly Talkative Team Member

This is usually a person who is one of four types.

  1. An “eager beaver”
  2. A show-off
  3. Very knowledgeable and is anxious to show it off
  4. Someone who does not recognize the responses of others in order to check their own behavior, (they can’t take the cue they are annoying).

How to Deal With Them

At times humor can be used to discourage people from dominating a discussion. be sure when the person stops talking you direct the conversation to another person. If the person’s behavior can’t be changed subtly, one member of the group should speak to the person privately and explain that while his/her enthusiasm is appreciated, it’s only fair to the whole group that every person gets an equal amount of air time.

The Quiet Team Member

This person my just be shy, bored, tired or unsure of themselves. Whatever the reason you may have someone who can contribute, but is not.

How to Deal With Them

Make a special effort to draw this person out: ask for their opinion on something; ask them something about themselves; tell the person you appreciate their participation. Slowing drawing them out into the open like this can unleash their potential contributions.

The Arguing Team Member

This is a person who is critical of ideas, the team and other team members. For whatever reason they disrupt the positive flow by arguing points. They may think they are a know-it-all who only thinks their way is the right way. They may feel under appreciated so they put down everyone else.

How to Deal With Them

If the person is critical of ideas, use that response to test the work the team is doing to see if this person is actually providing good feedback. If they are critical of others, tell them the effect that is having on both the team or individual team members. Be explicit about the fact that their behavior is harmful to the overall goals of the team.

The Complaining Team Member

This type of team member seems to have a pet peeve about everything. They may even complain just for the sake of complaining. Whatever deeply seated the roots of their behavior it is disruptive and leads to an unproductive team.

How to Deal With Them

Listen to the person’s complaint and if it is legitimate, set aside time to solve the problem. Point out that part of their work is to learn how to solve problems and that complaining does not offer constructive comment towards solving the problem. Ask the person to join with you to improve whatever is disturbing them.

Take Away

For a team to properly function as a team morale and professionalism are important. Your team does not have to be a bunch of choir boys, but they need to be productive members of the team. It only takes one bad personality type to disrupt the team chemistry.

Dealing with these four types is often as simple as sitting down and talking with them. They may not be aware that their behavior is an issue. You need to confront these people right away before it create a larger issue. Follow-up with coaching to be sure they stay on track.