xxvii) Other barriers to teams succeeding are


- Not understanding the dynamics as shown by behaviours from members of teams or groups. The table below describes the behaviours and strategies to handle

Behaviour What they do


1. Arriving Late
  • always come late to meetings
  • often making a big commotion when arrive
  • stop the meeting and want to be filled in about what has happened
  • may come late as they believe the meeting will not start on time and/or is not important
  • start meeting on time
  • lock the doors at the starting time and anyone not present is marked as absent
  • ask the late arrival person to be the minute taker next time, ie need to come on time
  • after the meeting have a private conversation to determine why the person was late
2. Repeating the same point
  • focus almost exclusively on the one point repeatedly
  • this person has strong views on an issue and needs to express it
  • demonstrate that they have been heard by recording it for discussion at a suitable time, eg parking it
3. Whisperer
  • constantly whispers to others making it hard for others to concentrate
  • keep the group focused, ie let's get back to the task/agenda, etc
  • encourage the whisperer to share what they are saying with the group
4. Attacker

  • launches a personal attack on somebody in the meeting
  • stay calm
  • try to identify "what is the problem"
  • try to defer it to another, more convenient/suitable time, ie after the meeting, etc
5. Interpreter

  • always speaks for others, ie "what Michelle is trying to say"
  • ask the interpreter to let the other person finish what they are saying
  • when the interpreter has finished check that is an accurate account of what the other person believes
6. Know all

  • uses credentials, experience, expertise, age, length of service, etc to push their point of view
  • reinforce that there are other points of view
  • decision is by the group
  • focus on exploring alternative, new solutions
7. Backseat Driver

  • wants to dominate by suggesting to follow a procedure, move on, telling others to shut up, etc
  • need to reinforce that there are various ways of dealing with things or people and no one-way is always right
  • ask them to suggest a procedure, etc and then check with the rest of the group if they agree
8. Pet/Favourite

  • craves approval; with less focus on the content of the meeting
  • focus is on getting noticed by leaders by agreeing with them
  • avoid direct eye contact
  • encourage that person to become independent, ie ask "I don't know, what do you think?
9. Head Shaker

  • verbally disagrees in a destructive way like shakes head, rolls eyes, crosses and un-crosses legs, slams books shut, pushes chairs backwards, etc
  • often unaware of their behaviour
  • ignore the person
  • acknowledge behaviour by asking does it mean that you do not agree or do you want to say something?
10. Early Leaver

  • drains the energy of the group by leaving early
  • use similar ones to those described in "arriving late" except use at the end rather than the beginning of the meeting
11. Doubter

  • is continually negative, ie that will never work, etc
  • ask directly for their help, ie can you help us make it work or do you know what will work?
12. Loud Mouth

  • dominates the meeting by talking too much and too loudly
  • often is a senior member or decision maker in the meeting
  • set time limits for each speaker
  • rotate speaker so that everyone has a chance to speak
  • ask them to be the recorder
13. Busybody

  • all ways ducking in and out of the meeting
  • they feel free to come and go as they wish
  • give them a job at the meeting which requires them to be present all the time
  • need to check if they really need to be elsewhere
  • stipulate that everyone must be present at the meeting
  • explain to them that their movement is interfering

Other barriers include 

. Non-participation by people who just want to do their job and go home

. Team members not having the necessary meeting, decision-making, problem or conflict resolution skills.

. Shifting to teams and increasing hierarchy with team leaders as an extra layer of management

. Negative people who are against everything, ie CAVE = citizens against virtually everything

. Management vetoing team decisions

. Poor communications between managers and teams, between the teams themselves and within teams

. Trying to change too quickly without a plan

. Personality clashes between the team members and between teams and their supervisors

. Managers refusing to relinquish their power

. Competition between teams

. Not knowing which step to take first

. Getting teams to work without a leader

. Defining boundaries for teams and getting management to accept the boundaries

. Internal politics within teams and within the organisation

. The spectre of constant change and restructure

. Under-resourcing the change effort

. Failing to clearly define responsibilities, roles and levels of authority for teams

. The ever-present lack of trust between workers and management

. Teams do not understand the financial side of the business in which they work

. The fear of losing all career paths

. Lingering tradition, structures and culture

. Dominant individuals who want to control the other team members

. Too many people protecting territory/turf

. General selfishness of people

. Teams that are too big

. Workers who can't see the personal or financial benefits of being in teams

. Managers who won't stand back and let the teams get on with the job

. Teams not controlling their budgets

. Teams not knowing their customers

. Teams not signed-off on agreed practices

. Too little training before starting

. Managers wanting to keep their status symbols, including special car parking, different eating areas and different clothing

. Increased workloads but with the same number of people to do the jobs

. Teams having no goals

. Confusion over what empowerment means

. Lack of personal skills

. The overtime culture, ie staff are used to and expect overtime as part of the work environment

. Managers who always want to pick and choose accountability issues

. People not wanting to change work processes because they have always done it this way

. Workers with a lack of business knowledge

. Decision-making still only happens at the corporate level

. Negative unions

. A lack of performance measuring

. Consensus appears to take much longer and slows down performance

. No business or technical skills in the teams

. Historical emphasis on individual achievement

. Not dealing effectively with poor performance in a team

. Not getting the right members in the team

. Performance evaluation difficulties

. Resistance to cross training

. Suspicions about teams being just another management fad that will pass

(source: Grant Donovan, 1998)


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