How do you deal with difficult team members?
Yokim Pillay Dec 06, 2017 Updated on Dec 08, 2017
I'd really like to discuss how you guys deal with team members in your workplace who are extremely difficult to deal with and are very unpredictable in their ways.
Currently, I'm faced with the same issues on a daily basis with regards to team chemistry and individual attitudes, and it's wearing me down a fair amount.
While it may seem like I'm talking smack about my teammates, this is just an open discussion on how you can help you and your teammates build a better bond and work through the issues that you and your team face on a personal basis.
Right now, my main issue is that my team is working in a reactive manner as opposed to a proactive one.
I'll give you an example;
- Person 1 is working on Project A and is the Lead Developer & Manager of 2, 3, and 4
- Person 2 is working on Project B
- Person 3 is working on Project C
- Person 4 is working on Project D
Now, Person 1 is in charge of bringing in work and distributing it amongst Persons 2, 3, and 4.
Projects A to D are all due between 4-6 weeks from now.
Everyone is working on their projects really hard and are getting some good progress in, when 3 days into the new project workloads, a client comes in and makes a request to Person 1 to make a tweak to a website, we'll call this Project E.
Person 1 delegates this to Person 4, and needs to get this request done 3-5 hours from the brief, which in and of itself is vague and uninformative.
Person 4 is very new to the industry and this request made for Project E needs a little more time to be completed, so Person 4 works on the request made for Project E as hard as they can.
Another request comes in from another client to Person 1, they need some changes/fixes on their website, Project F. Person 1 then pushes this request to Person 2 with the same urgency and poor briefing as they provided to Person 4.
Now Person 2 is a bit more experienced, but the task required is a hefty one for them as well, and the brief wasn't any better than the brief that was handed to Person 4 for Project E.
The exact same happens to Person 3, they receive another task that needs to get bumped to the front of the workload queue.
This cycle repeats for each of the people on the team, and everyone is inundated with new requests from clients demanding tweaks and changes done to their websites/apps.
Everyone on the team is affected by the
4 working days later, the workload looks like this:
- Person 1 is working on Project A, H
- Person 2 is working on Project B, F, J, M, P
- Person 3 is working on Project C, G, K, N, Q
- Person 4 is working on Project D, E, I, L, O
When Persons 2, 3, and 4 are behind on their deadlines for their respective projects that were originally assigned to them, Person 1 becomes extremely hostile and harsh towards their team, trying to put pressure and be very negative in energy and demeanour to the team.
So this is just the tip of the iceberg that I'm dealing with at work right now, and people on my team are struggling to bring this up with the head of our team, as he is not very receptive to criticism outside of web development.
I'm at a loss for a solution here, as the moment of action arises, I'm paralyzed with fear of hurting my career or relationship with my team.
How do you guys deal with these kinds of obstacles in your team?
EDIT: Toxic was the wrong choice of wording to use, I've changed it to something a little more appropriate. (Thanks, edA-qa mort-ora-y & Chris!)