Teaming Up Can be a Real Downer

Everyone seems to talk about the merits of the team and teaming up, running of a
dynamic team etc. But how do we deal with the team within the team, ie when members team up against a team member or other team members?

Teams, groups or organisations are very organic and dynamic with teams within teams
or cliques forming and disbanding constantly. This dynamism can be be very disruptive
to a team in some circumstances.

If the team does not have a process of dealing with individual issues or disputes then
maybe it is time to get out of such a team.

By process I mean an awareness of the existence of “teaming up” and the problems that
it can cause the team as a whole. Also a way to deal with it and the issues that are involved
in teaming up.

Most businesses are measured by their turnover of staff or team members. This turnover
is an indicator of internal problems within the team, starting from the top.

The Problem
For example if you have a problem with someone within the team, including and especially a “superior” or boss, how do you deal with it

If you go to your friends and complain to them about him/her then this is gossip and in effect you are teaming up with them, forming a team within the team or a clique and excluding this person. Anyone participating in this gossip, by listening, is also participating in teaming up against this person.

“But this happens all the time” I hear you say, and I agree and so do all the associated
social problems that go with such behaviour.

The Solution

I am suggesting a team use an agreed process of dealing inclusively with someone that
you have a problem with. ie If you have a problem with someone, then you simply activate
a 3 step process, like this for example, knowing that you are protected by the agreement
within the team.

1. That is you go directly to the person that you have the issue with and discuss it to
see if it can be resolved.

2. If not then include another person, preferably a peer, to hear both sides of the story.

3. And if you still cannot resolve the issue then bring the team member before your
team peers to put your cases. This could be done at a weekly team meeting, for example.

If this issue escalated to this point then there is an obvious major problem and if left unchecked could result in a very real problem within the team and could result in a real schism forming. At this point the team or peers can decide the solution. But you know, somehow I doubt an issue would ever get to this point without a resolution beforehand. Facing one’s peers can be a pretty powerful reason to work things out beforehand.

This is my suggestion for resolving issues between team members and especially with
resolving issues with “superior” team members. Wouldn’t it be great to know that if you
had a problem with your boss that you could take her before the team if you could not
resolve it face to face or with a fellow team member?

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