The success of a manager largely depends on how the individuals in her/his team perform and can achieve the team objectives by working together cohesively. A For this, the manager should have clear expectations set for each team member and as a team and the team should have a work culture established.I recommend the following 2 ways to manage a team member who does not work well with other team members:
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Establish a team culture /team identity
Every individual team member is usually aware of their own roles and responsibilities but teams together face a lot of hurdles if clear expectations are not set as to in what areas and how they should work together, what would be the team identity, how should they behave with each other on work or otherwise. If this is not clear, then even if it is not desired some team members may come across as not gelling well with the rest of the team either because they are not aware of the implicit rules of the rest of the team members or she/he has a different style of working or is simply confused. A team intervention should be done taking help of an external consultant facilitating the program with active and visible sponsorship of the manager. In this intervention, the following should be done and addressed:
- Psychometric Analysis is done on the individuals as how they are as team members
- Team to discuss openly the combined results of the same and brainstorm on what should be the team identity
- What should the team represent and stand for?
- What should be the work culture?
- What should be the ways of interactions among team members?
- What is working well and what can be done better?
- Post this, the facilitator should enable the team and the manager to come up with a team charter a with goals, identity, established work culture and the same should be documented and accepted by all.
This should clearly establish the common ground rules signed off by all team members and that should discourage an individual to stand out by not adhering to the same.
There should be a separate time allocation in all team meetings to review whether whatever the team has agreed is being followed so that it is imbibed as a culture with practice by each team member and is also sustainable.
Manager to have an open & Direct Conversation with concerned team member
Having an open feedback session where the thoughts can be clearly expressed is ideal for dissipating any doubts and starting a relationship afresh. The manager must be entering this 1 on 1 session with an open mind/clean slate about the concerned team member and not hold any biases against her/him. Individuals may not work well with other team members not only for reasons that are obvious like not a team player, placing own goals above the team, not being professional, going through personal issues etc. There may be other not so obvious reasons like the team member may be way ahead in mental ability than rest of the team members or she/he may be a victim of diversity issue, she/he may come across as abrasive since they felt that the team works best with that attitude etc. So, in effect the manager should have a clear mind before entering the meeting room. The manager should address the following:
- Create a safe environment for the concerned team member to openly discuss the issue
- Avoid biases and keep emotions out of it a state facts and not opinions on the current situation
- Not blame her/him but state clear facts /incidents that has happened, its repercussion on the other members and give an opportunity to the member to state /clarify as what was her/his thought in doing/acting in the manner
- If both sides can drive an objective conversation, addressing situation and not attacking the person, then they can understand the reasons on why or what is happening
- They should openly discuss on what happened, what they could have been done better and walk away with clear expectations on what entails in working in this team and what is the standard of behaviour among team members.
They may set up a few formal meetings to see whether whatever decided is being adhered to, seek any help needed by either, any other things to be addressed so that it does not recur.