Common Team Problems

1. Floundering

This problem occurs in the teams which are having trouble starting or ending a project or different stages of the project. Solution to this state are to look critically at the improvement plan, review the mission statement, determine the cause of the holdup, and have each member write down reasons and discuss them at the next meeting.

2. Overbearing participants

These participants have an unusual amount of influence in the team. They usually have a passion of authority or a particular expertise. Teams need these abilities; however, it becomes detrimental when they discourage discussion on their expertise and discount other member’s ideas. Solutions are to reinforce the ground rules, talk to the person off-line and ask for cooperation, and enforce the importance of data and the problem-solving method.

3. Dominating participant

They like to themselves talk, use overlong anecdotes, and dominate the meeting. Members get discouraged and find excuser for missing meetings. Solutions are to structure discussion on key issues for equal participation. Talk to the offending person off-line, and have the team agree in the needs for limits and a balanced participation. In addition the leader may act as a gatekeeper by asking questions.

4. Reluctant participants

They feel shy or unsure of themselves and must be encouraged to contribute. Problems developed when there are no built-in activities that encourage introverts to participate and extraverts to listen. In addition to structured activities, solution includes dividing the task into individual assignment and acting as a gatekeeper by asking questions such as, “ what is your experience in this area?”

5. Unquestioned acceptance of opinions as facts occurs

When members assert personal beliefs with such confidence that other members think they are facts. Solutions are to request data and to follow the problem-solving method.

6. Rush to accomplish

It is common to teams being pushed by one or more members who are impatient for results. Teams must realize that improvements do not come easily and rarely overnight. Solutions are to remind members that the ground rules call for the problem-solving method or to confront the rusher off-line and explain the effects of impatience.

7. Attribution

This is the activity of guessing at a person’s motives when team members disagree or don’t understand his or her opinion or behavior. Solutions are to reaffirm the importance of the problem-solving method, question whether this opinion is based on data, and find out the real meaning of the problem.

8. Discounts and “plops”

These things arise when members fail to give credit to another’s opinions or no one responds to a statement that “plops”. Every member deserves the respect and attention from the team. Solutions are to reinforce active listening as a team behaviour, support the discounted member, or talk off-line with members who frequently discount, put down or ignore.

9. Wanderlust

Digression and tangents happened when members’ loss track of the meeting’s purpose or want to avoid a sensitive topic. Discussions then wonder off in many directions at once. Solutions are to use a written agenda with time estimates, write meeting topics on flip charts or redirect the conversation back to the agenda.

10. Feuding team members

This can disrupt an entire team with their disagreement. Usually these feuds predate the team and are best dealt with outside the team meetings. Solution are to get the adversaries to discuss the issues off-line, offer to facilitate the discussion, and encourage them to forms some contract about their behaviors.

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