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My toolbox is exhausted....

Last post 06:13 pm March 8, 2019 by Dusan Karac
7 replies
03:49 pm March 5, 2019

Difficult teams are everywhere. I've had them. You've had them. But what do you do when you encounter a team with attitudes and actions that are detrimental to the entire team?

I've used and reshaped many of the tools in my scrum master tool box to try to help build a team. How would you coach a team member who is so angry and closed off that every conversation is a battle? I don't know that 1 on 1 coaching with this team member will improve anything and in fact may make things worst within the team. Addressing the behaviors as they occur is not working. 

What tools can you suggest?

05:28 pm March 5, 2019

I know this may not provide a concrete solution to your situation, but it was helpful advice to me nonetheless around similar challenges.

I attended a seminar where the title was literally "How to deal with a-holes".   The most important item I learned from that seminar is that people are not naturally jerks, and it is extremely rare to come across someone who is.

Therefore, destructive behavior is almost always a means to an end.   It isn't so important to highlight and address the poor behavior, as it is to try and understand why the person is behaving that way.   

Think about what the goal(s) might be that justify their actions in their mind.   Then, you can try to discuss their possible motivations with them, instead of just calling out their behavior.

12:41 am March 6, 2019

How would you coach a team member who is so angry and closed off that every conversation is a battle?

Does that person see an underlying problem? Are they frustrated because they cannot apply a remedy to that problem, or because they don’t know what the remedy is?

09:21 am March 6, 2019

Is it a battle between this member VS you or this member VS rest of the team ?

How can you change the structure of the next conversation to break the polarity this member is using ?

12:06 pm March 6, 2019

Is hit even hard to get the 1 on 1 coaching with him? Maybe there are issues in his personal life. Maybe he's scared. There are so many options here. Biggest challenge for you is to get a foot between the door..

04:46 pm March 7, 2019

When I try to talk to them about anything, they go straight into giving me an update on what they are doing. We got together as a team yesterday to talk about the scrum value of openness and she sat far away from the rest of the team with her arms crossed. At first she was on her phone, so I stopped talking and looked at her until she stopped.

She is just not engaged at all and she just gets angry. I've tried to connect with her about anything - scarves, jewelry, shoes, swimming, watches...there is nothing she will talk about to start to build rapport with her. If I talk to her about work, she goes straight to defensive and loves to talk about others.

12:01 pm March 8, 2019

Have you tried that as a mirror? Talking about others when they're not their is just gossiping. Maybe start off with a little of that (which I am very much not a fan of, but in this case it might be an opener) and than turn it around. How does she think the other would feel about her talking behind their back? What makes it that she is so talkative about others? What would she gain from this?

03:07 pm March 8, 2019

You probably "do not qualify" as value in her eyes. I would let go. In a sense of including her in everything, hear her out, but not want anything extra. Just a professional connection. I would definitely not stare her down for not paying attention, it makes you a police officer and makes it worse in her eyes...

Happened to me. The way I resolved was that I listened closely to the guy and when he commented on a problem that I was able to get fixed for him on other level (manager, line manager, supervisor, etc...) I went that little extra step and get that problem out of his way. And then I told him it was resolved and he did not have to care about it anymore. Remove a few roadblocks like this to regain the connection.

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