Conquering Team Pet Peeves
Whenever you’re in a group of people for a prolonged period of time, you will get to a point where certain things bother you. Obviously, if these negative experiences affect you in a significant way (sleep loss, feelings of depression or an urge to quit) your role might not be for you. However, there are some annoyances about the workplace that are universal, and you will not likely escape them no matter where you travel to in your career.
There are constructive ways to lessen these annoyances and in some cases turn them into teachable moments for your coworkers so you can get your work done without the same aggravation level.
The best policy is obviously having a frank, open discussion with offending coworkers, but sometimes that’s not a feasible option, or it has been tried already
Unresponsive team members
In every office, there is one person who is TERRIBLE at managing their communications and more likely than not, they require a lot of your time to chase down. There are a few effective ways to get this under control. The highest tech version and least invasive way is to send return receipts with every email, but those can be foiled by someone determined to avoid contact.
Another way is to gently remind that person their opinions are important to your group and to explain that if you can’t get their opinions in a timely fashion, you may have to leave them out of the loop. Fear of not having a stake in a project should motivate your team member, if it doesn’t, you might need to take that opinion up with their boss.
People who take credit
There seem to be 2 speeds in business when it comes to credit: the people who believe everyone gets credit and the people who think the person who is first to claim credit is the rightful owner of it. This is a tricky situation because any action you take to correct a credit situation could paint you in a bad light.
A good way to make sure everyone who contributes does get credit is to make notes during meetings about who contributed. Use this documentation as a reference in group communiques and in your wrap reporting so you have an accurate accounting of who did what that you can share easily with your bosses and the team alike. If you record as you go, people will appreciate their acknowledgement and will be more likely to participate and acknowledge others’ achievements
People who derail meetings
At Google HQ, signs are placed in plain view in every meeting room asking questions like:
- Do you know why you’re here?
- Are we here to make a specific decision?
- Is there a known deliverable?
There is also a countdown clock in every meeting room, counting down to make sure meetings are productive and concise. These signs exist because every office has a number of people who live to attend and derail meetings. There are a few ways to deal with these types of people:
Stop inviting them (this can and will get you in hot water with your team leads)
Ignore them during meetings (this may have a boomerang effect. Use with caution) or
Have airtight agendas with time allotted next to each item. Do not waver for anyone on the team. This will seem slightly harsh when you begin to implement it, but your team may thank you when you’re close to your deadline and not burning hours in meeting hell.
People who refuse to demonstrate a POV
On every team, there’s at least one born politician who won’t give up their opinion easily. The problem with this is that they often take a revisionist approach if any part of a project goes wrong. The best way to deal with this is to solicit feedback from everyone and make sure it’s documented, whether in your project management software comments, or in meeting minutes. Explain to the group that the motivation is to make sure your team has considered all the options and that if someone can’t provide an opinion, it’s possible they might be superfluous to
getting the project complete. If that person cares about being considered vital, you can tip their hand.
Human nature is such that you will find these types of behavior wherever you choose to work. It doesn’t mean you and your teams can’t try to affect positive change and ensure everyone on your team is held to a standard.