Team Members Arguing
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If You Are A Team Member STOP Doing These Infuriating Things

Team leaders tell us things their team members do that annoy them.

Working within a team is hardly ever the simple, easy endeavor it is portrayed to be. A well oiled and competent team can produce results well beyond the capacity of any individual, but a stressed and dysfunctional team plagued by infighting can hemorrhage money and produce little to nothing of value.

We reached out to top team leaders across the world to find out what it is that team leaders find insufferable about their team members… and how to avoid these common pitfalls.

Before we jump into the bulk of this article, we think this quote from one of the contributors is worth sharing…

I think that one of the biggest traits of a successful leader is being able to deal with peoples’ little annoying quirks and still make business happen.

– James Pollard

#1 Changes To A Project Without Asking For Permission First

It bothers me when a team member makes changes to a project without asking for permission first. For example, I assigned a simple data entry project to a team member, who was supposed to be entering in customer names and addresses. She turned in customer names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. She felt as if she was going above and beyond, and I appreciated the thought, but it isn’t what I asked for. Her going “above and beyond” ended up making the project twice as time-consuming and twice as costly as it was supposed to be in the first place. 

Contributor: James Pollard

Company: theadvisorcoach.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

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#2 Multiple Emails About A Subject Without Giving Me A Chance To Reply

The second thing that annoys me is when people send multiple emails about a subject without giving me a chance to reply. They will send the original email, then an update, then another update, then perhaps a “never mind” email. I encourage my team members to gather their thoughts, try to work out situations by themselves, and then contact me with something that is complete. I would much rather get one complete email that I can read than four different emails with two sentences each. It’s amazing how much people will get done if you give them a little freedom.

Contributor: James Pollard

Company: theadvisorcoach.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

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#3 Problems Without Any Attempt To Find The Solution

The most frustrating thing for any leader is a team which brings you problems without any attempt to find the solution. Every leader is there to provide support, and to ensure their entire team receives the assistance, guidance, and expertise to perform to their maximum potential. However, this becomes difficult when your day is instead a deluge of issues which fall entirely to you to resolve. Your leader doesn’t expect you to come with the complete, correct solution every time; but it is up to every employee to do their best to manage the situation in front of them. Otherwise, the team dynamic will become problematic very quickly. 

Contributor: Rob Mead | Twitter

Company: gnatta.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

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#4 Regulations, Conflict And Behavior

I love this topic so much I wrote an entire book on it "Managing Annoying People: 7 Proven Tactics To Maximize Team Performance". I'm Ilene Marcus and with 30 years experience leading large public organizations, I now speak, train and consult on building powerful engaged teams and managing annoying people who steal your energy and time. I help managers drive their agendas and bring focus and clarity back to their workplace.

Do you know what Team Stands for:

T - Together

E - Everybody

A - Annoys

M - Me

As COO of a $20 million special-needs school, I managed a team of educators. The school principal hid behind regulations whenever she didn’t want to do an assigned task. To combat this I would check the regulations and bring a copy with me to all meetings. Prior to employing the tactic of telling the team, my standard response went something like this: “Really? Because I don’t see it in the regulations.” I would bang my fist on the pile of papers next to me and then add for good measure, “As usual you are stating an extreme case. Who thinks this is an extreme case?”

A classic fight response, and the entire team would go on the defensive as I displayed my annoyance. Once I realized the impact of my conduct on the whole team, not just the intended recipient, I knew I needed a different tact. I started the next meeting by owning up to my behavior, opening with, “I have been annoyed at the slow pace of change and have lashed out at some of you. I am sorry. From today forward, this situation will be addressed by clarifying what is at stake if we do not change our behavior, and asking all of you, my senior team, to provide solutions to the issues raised. Would anyone like to add on to that or ask any questions?”

After that, the hallmarks of the meetings were cooperation, problem solving, and the team keeping me honest when I slipped back into banging on the regulations.

Contributor: Ilene Marcus | LinkedIn

Company: alignedworkplace.com | Facebook

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#5 Hijack The Session

Team leadership: Currently I lead a staff support group at a not-for-profit agency. My leadership is focused on improving relationships within the group to increase productivity. What I find annoying: group members who hijack the session and it becomes all about them. 

For example: Joe tells us Jane wouldn't accept his apology and he's upset. Jane is blindsided (incident happened months ago) and others are confused (they knew nothing about this). This escalates as Joe is angry, Jane defensive and others trying to manage the fight and/or get back to group issues and agenda. How to fix: Members should consider the group. Ask yourself: Is my issue group related or personal? Handle personal issues outside the team meetings. 

Contributor: Laura MacLeod

Company: fromtheinsideoutproject.com | Twitter

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#6 Putting In The Work

I also lead a support group for shopping addicts. My frustration: members wanting to progress, take action to decrease and change behavior BUT they don't put in the work. 

For example: Between group sessions, work is assigned: Look at your triggers- what's happening when you have the urge to shop, what do you notice about why you shop, etc. When I mention the homework at the start of the session, I am often met with blank stares: Oh, I forgot. Oh yeah, no- didn't do it. How to fix: People need to take responsibility and do the hard work if they want to progress.

Contributor: Laura MacLeod

Company: fromtheinsideoutproject.com | Twitter

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  1. #7 Stop annoying the hell out of everyone by eating crunchy carrot sticks or chips in your office cubicle! Unless you’re safely tucked away in your office, know that sound travels and your co-workers won’t appreciate knowing exactly when and how much you’re snacking on. At least bring quiet snacks that aren’t so noisily crunchy.

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