Subscribe to My Feed   Follow Me On Twitter   Join Me On LinkedIn   Friend Me On Facebook

Easily Manage the Team Members Who Distract from the Team

Undoubtedly you have team members who distract from the team’s efforts. Here are three that show up at meetings: those who know-it-all on the team, those who find fault with everything, and those who distract others on the team by doing everything other than paying attention in the meeting. Here are some ways to manage these folks and keep your team moving in the right direction.

The Know-it-Alls: These team members want to establish authority on the project team and take control – they want to be in the spotlight. They frequently interrupt others who are trying to contribute ideas and/or shoot down other’s ideas because they have a better one. They appear to be the expert in everything.

Solution:  Acknowledge the input from these individuals and then ask for input from others. You might say – “That’s a great point Charles; let me capture it on the flip chart. Amanda – what do you think?” This provides you control over those who like to interrupt others. Additionally, I use a “round robin” technique to also control contributions. When I have someone in the room who is constantly shouting out their own ideas and drowning out others, or arguing with every idea brought up by someone else – I go around the room and ask each individual to contribute. This controls the know-it-all; she’ll speak when it is her turn. If she interrupts – I reset the process and let her know it is not yet her turn – please hold that thought.

Fault Finders: These individuals find a problem in everything. They seem to agree and then move right to “but….”  Every idea presented is faulty and just not good enough. Interestingly, these individuals rarely offer up a solution of their own – they find a problem with everyone else’s potential solution to the issue.

Solution: When the fault finder finds an issue with a solution presented, ask them for an alternative solution. If there is no alternative offered up – ask others in the room their thoughts on the solution. If it works – go with it! Similarly, the next time that the fault finder begins to complain about something – ask them what they would do to improve the situation. If they have no response – ask others if they see a problem. If they do not, move on.

Distractors: These are the individuals who are texting, talking to the person next to them, answering their cell phone, typing on their laptop, or otherwise doing something other than listening and actively participating in the team meeting.

Solution: Have ground rules for each meeting – cell phones off, no side conversations, etc. Once in place, when a team member interrupts the flow of the meeting and distracts others – remind everyone of the ground rules. I often find that “resetting” the ground rules at the beginning of each meeting is a great way to manage these individuals. When someone’s phone rings during the meeting – I ask them to take the call outside to avoid disrupting the other team members. When I catch someone texting or talking to the person next to them – I stop, look in their direction and then continue with the meeting. For chronic distractors, I’ll call a break in the meeting and ask them, during the break when no one else is around, if it would be possible to have their attention so we can get through the meeting agenda. I mention that they are distractive to others and it affects the team accomplishing their goals.

Tell us about some of your problem team members and how you manage them in the Comments field below. What has worked for you? Thanks!

Comments are closed.