049: Dealing with Ineffective Team Members | Are You Making These Mistakes? [Podcast]

I bet dealing with ineffective team members is something you struggle with constantly. Whether you are on a team, leading a team, or leading a group of teams, one of your greatest challenges is not getting the work done, but instead dealing with those team members who will not measure up. It may be teams at work or through some volunteer effort, but the results are the same. And sometimes, you and I might be that team member! Think about that. When you are the weak link, how would you like others to deal with you?

Dealing with Ineffective Team Members - Poison

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons/shawnzrossi

In today’s podcast episode I will present some strategies for dealing with ineffective team members as well as the results from ignoring or improperly dealing with these team members.

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Key Steps in Dealing with Ineffective Team Members

Symptoms of ineffective team members may include:

  • Does not deliver on time or with quality.
  • Often late or misses meetings.
  • Always has excuses.
  • Does not show up at all.
  • The team is making negative comments about the member.
When you see these things happen, you MUST act.

Realize these truths:

  • The team always leads.
  • Failure to act destroys the team.
  • Leadership addresses issues head on. (Be a leader!)
  • Gossip is poison. No one wins when gossip starts.
  • Passing the buck up the leadership chain (to the boss) makes you look weak.

Set a plan to take action.

  • Address the main issue with the team. Make sure everyone on the team sees there is a problem that needs addressing.
  • Assign a person to confront the ineffective team member.
  • Do not assume anything. Instead ask the team member what is going on and listen. They may not be aware they are not measuring up or something big may be going on in their life. Assume the best.
  • Work with team member to develop a plan of correction.
  • Bring it back to the whole team with agreement to help the team member. This could be a chance to help that weak team member grow. But more importantly, everyone grows because they dealt with the issue professionally.
Possible Outcomes
  • Things improve – The team member steps up and things begin to look positive. In this case, look for continued improvement and offer coaching.
  • No signs of change – Confront the team member again (and again) to make sure the team member knows they are not measuring up.
  • Removal – If things do not get better, the team member must go. If you cannot remove them, the issue must be addressed to the higher authority at this time. Instead of looking weak, now you can show what the team has done to address the issue and ask for help from the authority.
Remember, we have all been on both sides of this issue. Believe it or not, someone has thought you and I were the weak link before, and maybe now. So work at this assuming the best. But, at all costs, never gossip. No matter the outcome, the gossip will kill the rest of the team. Gossip is poison!
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