Managing team members


#1

I am managing a self-organising team in an environment that has historically been very waterfall heavy with some level of success. However, I have one team member (tester) who is reluctant to show initiative and needs to be task managed, as he won’t deliver otherwise and another team member whose own value system is preventing her from becoming more productive and efficient, despite efforts from multiple team members to coach her in regards to best practices and lessons learnt.

I was wondering if anyone has come across similar challenges and would have any advise on handling this situation?


#2

@Karina_Gerdes

The issues you are dealing with are not unique… we’re all humans after all!

I’ve used lots of “experimental probes” for the teams I serve - to see what the system responds to.

Here’s a toolbox of experiments, happy to unpack them in more detail, via a quick conference call… just find a 20 minute slot that works for you:
https://calendly.com/andy-cleff/20-min

  • Team Agreements
  • Moving Motivators
  • Team Values Exercise
  • Fear and Vulnerability Retro
  • Empathy Toy Retro
  • Round Table Reviews

All the above I’ve found useful in developing that magic mix of trust, honest, vulnerability, and collaboration.

I’m also reminded of Lyssa Adkin’s et al’s mention regarding “Dysfunctional Behaviors”

People choose maladjusted behavior generally as a substitute for expressing displeasure with something that they do not agree with: content, process, opinions, other issues. They usually have a valid point. They just don’t know how to be functional about expressing it.


#3

I can be a little cutthroat when it comes to these things… especially if it is the first “pilot” team in the organization and it is imperative you need to make it work.

Pull really hard on the empathy and peer professional respect cards (aka guilt after empathy) for this individual. If the rock can’t be moved on the human front, then maybe they aren’t cut out for the future agile culture.

That being said, some people are in the laggard category of adoption curves and need to see it working before signing up for it. So, the other solution is to swap that member out to another team for a member of similar skills to defer the problem for now (putting the writing on the wall for others if you are successful).


#4

I remember a team member I worked with a few years back. Marc. Everyone told me that he only did exactly what you told him and no more. He was talented, personable, and friendly, but he wasn’t one to raise the bar. He coasted, didn’t make waves, and after putting in his eight hours, he headed home. People tried working with him, and they say they never got anywhere with him. It was always the same.

When I was asked to work with the team, I remember pulling him aside early into my transition. I told him I’d be relying on him for a few things that I wanted to help the team with, and because he was a charismatic guy, I thought he was the right person for the job. He was hesitant but agreed, and from time to time, I had to pull him aside and point out cases where I felt he was coasting. We talked about each, and in some cases, I had the wrong perspective. In others, he admitted he could be doing more.

In fact, I remember making a bet with him. He was a designer with a marginally technical background, and I bet him that I’d deploy code to production before he did. (We had a pretty robust pipeline that required only a bit of technical effort to get a push to prod.) I told him that I’d take him to lunch if I lost. A month later, he was the company’s first designer to deploy code, and I was out $25 for that lunch.

Since I departed that team, I continue to hear nothing but great things about him and what he does. The cost was minimal: some clear expectations, a few tough conversations, and a lunch. I’m sure I could have simply listened to the opinions of others and nudge only lightly, but I’m glad I didn’t.


#5

Sounds like a blue team member!