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re: How do you deal with difficult team members? VIEW POST


I'll second edA-qa mort-ora-y's thought that this sounds less like Person 1 is toxic, and more like they're an inexperienced manager, and under a lot of pressure. That's an important distinction, since it changes how best to address the problem.

I personally try to establish a mutual understanding of what's happening. When Person 1 delegates emergency work to you, mention what you're currently working on, and what effect the emergency work will have on that timeline. "I can make the color of the Frob configurable by the end of today, but that means I'll have to push back delivery of the Zim component from Thursday to Friday. Does that work for you?"

And keep Person 1 in the loop as you work on these emergency fixes. "Hi, just checking in to let you know I've clarified the requirements with the client, and I'm starting work." Then later, "Hi, the work is done, and I'm handing off to QA, and it should go into tomorrow's deployment. I should be back on my main project by 14:00." It establishes trust and avoids surprises for everyone.

Communicate proactively, establish common ground on the facts of the situation, and try to help the team move toward a solution.

If all that doesn't improve things, it may be time to look for a new job. Time spent in difficult work environments does make you stronger, but don't stay too long. If it becomes clear that the situation wont' change, don't beat your head against the wall. Far better to spend your time building skills and working with great people than learning how to "survive" difficult work environments.

Check out Extreme Ownership, a concise, practical guide to getting stuff done under pressure. (I'm thinking in particular of the chapter, "Prioritize and Execute.")


Hi, Chris!

Yeah, toxic was probably a bad word choice, apologies for that.

I think this is a good way to go about things in the future. At least then it will, in my mind, pave way for better communication in the long run.

I'll definitely check Extreme Ownership out, thanks for this, Chris! I appreciate your outlook. :)

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