Coaching the individuals

Last post 06:50 pm February 13, 2020
by vishal Rajadhyaksha
9 replies
11:50 am February 12, 2020


Sometimes I am trying to solve individual motivation and commitment issues. Like, one of dev team member is always toxic. I try to make calm him, suggest brainstorming in any topic. Of course I don't want to deal with him as an individual but he is makes the other's feeling worst and worst . Neverthless he does not give commitment to dev task. What do you suggest to me when dev team has toxic person. 



12:29 pm February 12, 2020

Hi Ezgi,

Before I comment, could you let us know what has the rest of the team has done about this situation?



12:34 pm February 12, 2020

How is team membership decided in this particular case?

01:33 pm February 12, 2020

Outside of these questions above, I can recommend looking into Co-Active coaching to take a little deeper look into coaching itself.

05:27 pm February 12, 2020

My first thought was that you should stop trying to calm the individual and shift your efforts to understanding what is making the person toxic.  Why does this person feel that they have to work in that manner?  Talk to them very openly about why they feel the toxicity is necessary and how they feel it is helping.  Then work with the entire team to address the concerns. This is not always easy but as a coach it is often needed. 

06:10 pm February 12, 2020

Hi all,

Thanks for all your responses.

@Stephen , rest of the team is telling to him demotivation and not accept his toxicity.

@Sander i will buy this book to guide me.Thanks a lot!

@Ian , for this particular case the rest of team try to be open and warn him. But they did not totally agree at all, which makes our team dysfunctional. But i will make a workshop using "5 dysfunctions of a team".  Neverthles, the team insist on to stay and continue with work with him. He has been working on the same project for 5 years.And actually he has strong technical background. Morevover he makes lots of criticism in his personal life, I can say toxicity comes from his nature.


@Daniel me and rest of the team asks why his behavior against to us devastating. But he just blame rest of the team because of velocity. He wants to ask each dev team member :" you has to ask .... directly to me, why you did not ask to me." and "You are always late"etc... As a result our retro had became a failure.

09:41 pm February 12, 2020

Why does this individual feel that the rest of the team cannot function well without him?   And if this person truly believes that, why do they feel such a strong dependency on a single individual is healthy for both the team and the organization?

Based on the information you've provided so far, I can only speculate that this individual identifies their value through the dependence of others on him, and is fighting attempts to promote team-based ownership and elimination of "lead"-type roles.   

One of the best Meetup sessions I ever attended talked about people who were very difficult.   What I learned is that it is very rare for a person to be a natural "jerk".   Often, their behavior is a means to an end.   You would be wise to continue working with this individual to better understand why they are behaving so poorly.

Sounds simple, but it is far from it.   Good luck.

05:22 am February 13, 2020

Hi Timothy,

They are dependent each other because of whole development task. Because rest of the team pulls the development task, and 'he' is just reviewing their code (like pair programming) and sometimes help them to find solutions, design and their questions. I think he got kind of ego, but i will try to motivate him and you're right ,it will be very difficult to all of us.


03:39 pm February 13, 2020

I agee with @Timothy Baffa that it sounds like he wants to be the "lead" of the team and not a member.  His behavior exhibits strong tendencies to command-control and his desire to control everything regardless of what everyone else thinks. He doesn't want anyone to be successful without him and believes that he can do everything better than anyone else.  To him the team stands in his way to success. 

We all know that Scrum doesn't include any type of management structure. It is completely built upon self-managed teams that cooperate and make group decisions.  But we also know that real world means that there is a management structure and everyone fits into it.  I'm going to suggest that you step outside of Scrum on this one.  As a Scrum Master you help to remove impediments for the team.  In this case you should probably escalate this situation to the manager to which this person reports. Help his manager see how his behavior is being detrimental to the team and ask for help in resolving the issue. You could continue to try different techniques to try and resolve but it sounds to me like the only thing that will get through to him is having his manager step in.  Since he wants to behave in a command-control lead manner, it is going to be difficult to deal with him in a servant-leader/team centric way.  He will react to the authority of a manager but not the dynamics of a team. 

Good luck.  

06:50 pm February 13, 2020

I agree with above reply of Daniel. In short, just try to release him from the project. It's very hard to change someone's behaviour. I really doubt you would get that much time in your project to try to analyze and change his behaviour and even if you succeed in that it would be short term.

This reminded me of one of the developers in my team. He once charged at female employee(Tester) and started talking to her in rude manner very loudly when there was no fault of her. This created a scene and everyone started looking at them. I immediately jumped in and took both of them to meeting room and told him this is not the correct way to speak with anyone. He also used to say very negative things about other team members behind their back & to hide his incompetency used to show others down. Finally, I explained about his behaviour to his manager and we released him from the project.