Over time we have blogged about maximizing team success by making certain all are focused on
achieving the overriding goals. Understanding the value that each person offers to the collective effort and accepting that each person should view what they do as the ‘most important’ contribution to the overall success of the effort are important aspects. It sounds logical, simple and very straight forward. And yet, what we have all encountered are situations wherein a negative perception held about even one co-worker of client has the ability to undermine all of the success-related ingredients and deprive the effort of hitting the intended mark.
Here are some examples that I continue to encounter and that I expect that you, the reader, have experienced to the detriment of all of the good effort being made.
- A member of a team has a delivery style that is simply hard to like or take
Situation: Perhaps it’s the way they deliver their ideas or perspective ofsomething being considered. Perhaps their attitude is one that says “I’m right and all of you are missing the real point”. Or, perhaps the one leading the effort just doesn’t care for the person as an individual. Regardless of the reason, others actually shut down and disregard the contribution.
Impact: Even understanding that each person on the team or within the department is there because of what they know and the needed contribution they can make, allowing personal reactions and feelings to reign unchecked is clearly going to impact the level of achievement. Think of working a 500 piece puzzle and not having the final piece.
Resolution: If you are a witness to this obstacle think of it as a responsibility and opportunity to get the overall effort onto a successful track. One way to do this is by having a conversation with either or both sides of the situation. Often, either person simply doesn’t realize how they are coming across and will make changes to take the focus to where it should be … success.
- A sales person is working with a client with whom they don’t connect
Situation: Whether in a sales position with a company or in your own business, customers are the ones who enable growth and are one critical element to our existence. And still, there are times when the needed connection between these two components just isn’t there for any number of reasons including those mentioned in #1 above.
Impact: In both directions, frustration, impatience, lack of cooperation and stone-walling are manifestations of such a ‘relationship’. You realize that neither the sales person nor the client are happy and chances are slim that you would stand to get any additional business or referrals from the client. From both sides of the equation it seems like something akin to pulling teeth and is just unpleasant.
Resolution: If the sales person nor the client consider the relationship to be working well, the likelihood is that you will achieve unsatisfactory results and actually create a negative voice. This will work against you in the pursuit of future sales. And although this one is often difficult to swallow, recognizing that the connection is not a good one, removing yourself from it and referring the customer to another person will be doing you, that customer and your organization a big favor.
- A new person joins an established team or group as an unwelcome addition
Situation: You are already a part of an existing and well-established team working well toward the known and intended goals. For any number of reasons a new person is assigned to be a part of it. Perhaps they are a new hire and seen as having skills and knowledge that will enhance progress toward your goal. Or, maybe they have been with the organization and it is felt the team would benefit from their skills. However, along the way they have created some reputation that is not well received by the team. It’s uncomfortable from various vantage points and impacts the free-flowing and cooperative successful movement negatively.
Impact: There are a couple of reactions to this. Either the ‘new’ person is ignored and soon realizes that are not going to be able to become a viable and respected member of this team. Thus, any input they provide is shot down as wrong and unwelcome. Or … the rest of the team ceases to be as open given the ‘intruder’ in their midst.
Resolution: Here is another situation wherein some team member who is aware of the negativity has the opportunity and a responsibility to raise the issue and the potential impact it is having on the successful achievements of the team. Allowing the newcomer to enter on a more level playing field enhances the experience for all and, in fact, can take the achievements to a higher level.
Distension between any of the individuals who make up a team relationship does much to undermine all of the good efforts that are otherwise intended and made. It is actually surprising how many people are unaware of how they have allowed their bias toward another to impact the way in which they work together. In most situations, by increasing awareness much is improved and even resolved. Maybe it’s another observant team member bringing it to the attention of those involved. Or perhaps it means the ones involved in the situation discussing, acknowledging the issue and making a commitment to begin anew.
Few of us, if any, are trained, skilled actors. It may only take a few lessons to develop the talent … and the benefits.