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I am not a director and have no direct reports- and rarely have 'people' issues- but have 2 thorns in my side lately.

I have used your feedback model for the 1 co-worker who has been difficult and it seemed to work well. Not my main concern.

I have another co-worker that I am having issues with. He would probably be described as a high D and is very abrupt, rude and hard to collaborate with. He gives his opinion- but if you try to compromise- he argues then goes into an apathetic state of 'whatever'.

He is new to the company- but a seasoned marketer and has been in the industry for years. His experience/ knowledge is not at issue- it's his ability to contribute to a team project.

We are in the middle of launching a major, high profile marketing campaign incorporating 3 products- for which he has responsibility of 1.

Early on, I took a leadership role and advocated for the program. The program has picked up steam, we got special funding and the other product managers and I, started moved the project along- working VERY well together.

I am now the official team leader- and I have to rely on the new PM for some things. There are 2 other product managers also on the team and all pitch in to collaborate and take on pieces of the project. The 3 of us have done a bulk of the work- while the new guy refuses to volunteer for tasks.

Additional background: We started the project before this person was hired- so he was kind of added to the project. He and I share a supervisor and her direction to him is that this is part of his job responsibility. Also in explaining the teams experience with his behavior to her- she can see no issues (because he acts differently when around her) and feels it's just a difference in work style that we must work through.

Things seem to have gotton progressively worse regarding his attitude towards the team. there was one incident early on where he blew up irrationally (think of the scene in office space where the guy freaks out screaming he's a 'people person')

After walking on egg shells for a while and trying to make him feel like part of the team- all team members have become fed up with him and have no interest in dealing with him anymore... His negativity, apathy and rudeness is very disruptive in team conference calls. None-the-less, due to individual product markeitng responsibilities- we are forced to rely on him.

Our big launch to the sales organization is coming up soon!!!!

Advice? :?:

bflynn's picture

[quote="Jim P"]I am not a director and have no direct reports- and rarely have 'people' issues- but have 2 thorns in my side lately.

I have used your feedback model for the 1 co-worker who has been difficult and it seemed to work well. Not my main concern.

I have another co-worker that I am having issues with. He would probably be described as a high D and is very abrupt, rude and hard to collaborate with. He gives his opinion- but if you try to compromise- he argues then goes into an apathetic state of 'whatever'.

He is new to the company- but a seasoned marketer and has been in the industry for years. His experience/ knowledge is not at issue- it's his ability to contribute to a team project.

We are in the middle of launching a major, high profile marketing campaign incorporating 3 products- for which he has responsibility of 1.

Early on, I took a leadership role and advocated for the program. The program has picked up steam, we got special funding and the other product managers and I, started moved the project along- working VERY well together.

I am now the official team leader- and I have to rely on the new PM for some things. There are 2 other product managers also on the team and all pitch in to collaborate and take on pieces of the project. The 3 of us have done a bulk of the work- while the new guy refuses to volunteer for tasks.

Additional background: We started the project before this person was hired- so he was kind of added to the project. He and I share a supervisor and her direction to him is that this is part of his job responsibility. Also in explaining the teams experience with his behavior to her- she can see no issues (because he acts differently when around her) and feels it's just a difference in work style that we must work through.

Things seem to have gotton progressively worse regarding his attitude towards the team. there was one incident early on where he blew up irrationally (think of the scene in office space where the guy freaks out screaming he's a 'people person')

After walking on egg shells for a while and trying to make him feel like part of the team- all team members have become fed up with him and have no interest in dealing with him anymore... His negativity, apathy and rudeness is very disruptive in team conference calls. None-the-less, due to individual product markeitng responsibilities- we are forced to rely on him.

Our big launch to the sales organization is coming up soon!!!!

Advice? :?:[/quote]

No doubt this is a tough situation. Unfortunately, there are so many subtlties about these situations, that its difficult to give good advice.

You described the guy as a high-D. Just to check - the issue isn't your team's perception of his communciation style? Just because he does this different than you, he isn't wrong...even being the new guy. No - ok then there is a problem.

Review the member's podcast on high-Ds. Remember that a High-D wants power, prestige and authority (pp&a). Use this to leverage him into listening to you.

Personally - I would bury my personal feelings and reach out to the guy the right way. If his personality is how I imagine it, he needs to believe that you're helping him succeed (get his pp&a) and that if he doesn't listen to you, he won't get his pp&a. I might say something like "John, you've been an important part of this team, but I think you might be missing some aspects of this job and you're not as good at this as you could be." High-D - get his attention by questioning his perception of his own power. And hold that carrot out there of how he can increase his pp&a.

That is just to get his attention. Once you have that, you can direct some feedback at him. The purpose of feedback is to get a behavioral response. Now I don't know anything specific he's done - but pick out something - "John, when you interrupt, it isn't working. It is rude and makes people question whether your're the right person to do this job. Now I want this team to succeed and I want you to succeed with it. What can you do differently to get along better with the other team members?" Now you're able to apply some kind of corrective action.

Walking on eggshells isn't going to solve the problem. Its going to frustrate you - in fact, it sounds like it has. The chances are, he is believes the real problem is that the rest of the team isn't accepting him and is "threatened" by his superioririty.

The short form of all this - talk in terms he cares about.

Its a hard course; there are too many subtle things going on to record. BTW, my example was meant to illustrate an imaginary situation, not be specific advice. Hope this helps stimulate some thought.

Good Luck. Remember that it isn't personal.

Brian

Mark's picture

Jim-

Sorry this took me so long. I've been rebuilding my laptop for a week.

It's a great question - glad you asked. Brian made some points I agree with.

I'm going to assume he's a High D.

1. Be very direct with this guy by giving him feedback immediately. "Joe, when you yell at people that doesn't work. I thought it was ineffective (note I don't say inappropriate - a D may not care about that). Others now don't want to interact with you. That hurts our work and affects our deadline (I'm not telling him it hurts team spirit). How can you do that differently going forward?"

Also, give him specific feedback about work and behavior. After one of those meetings, be very polite, and call him on what is ineffective. "When you said 'whatever', it came across as apathetic..." "When you didn't say anything, it kept us from hearing your ideas and that hurts our ability to finish on time and on budget." "When you don't say ANYTHING nice about someone's idea, it's rude (statement of fact) and rudeness hurts our ability to get stuff done."

Ask him each time how he might do things differently. If you don't wan to go that far, ask him to consider it.

If he doesn't appear to change, the key is to keep giving him adjusting feedback when he's off base. He's going to get tired of it. When he asks you whether you're going to keep doing this stupid stuff when he clearly doesn't want to change, tell him, "Yeah, I am. I'm not judging you, I'm just stating facts. you do something, and there are consequences. If you keep doing them, there are just going to be more consequences from the team and others here. It's up to you what you change, but I think it's safe to say that if you keep it up, you won't last long here.

As well, be ready to give him positive feedback too. You'll regret if you don't and he shoves it in your face that it's your problem - you're only seeing the negative. This is true for regular stuff and for improvements he makes.

Take notes about what he's required to do, large and small, and when he misses deadlines, and doesn't chip in, be specific with feedback. Notes help YOU stay SPECIFIC, which will pin him down more.

I'm not saying he'll like it, but in a high D's world, he knows "liking it" is not a requirement for doing well.

And, give your team some feedback. To some degree, it doesn't really matter what they feel about this guy - the work is the work. If they choose not to work with him , they're culpable. The more they work with him, you'll either get more data about his improvement, and they'll find it easier to work with him and the problem will go away, or you'll get more negativity which CAN be used for feedback. (You want to be careful about sharing feedback that was given to you with him. If you tell him how what he did hurt someone, he may just dismiss that person. I am NOT saying you don't tell him... but you may have to choose which feedback to give him to be most effective.)

Hole your teams' feet to the fire... because your boss is doing that to you, and it's reasonable.

Let us know how things go. (Oh, and don't assume that if he blows up at you, that's bad. That's more feedback, and surely your boss won't tolerate that. If he whines to her, by the way, that's a real sign of weakness from a D... and if you have chapter and verse on his poor performance (and that's what it is, because part of his job is working with others), your boss will side with you.

It will get better!

Mark