I’m working with in a group with a team of six individuals. Five of us are hard workers, constantly stay in touch with one another, and contribute to the goals of the group. One has shown lackluster performance so far – let’s call him Bob. Bob’s deliverables have been provided late, he’s missed two team meetings in the past two weeks (in one instance, he sent an email mass transit was a mess – which is reasonable once in a while – and the second instance he didn’t even send an email to notify us he was not going to be there), and he completely neglected writing one portion of the paper that is due today. I’m more disappointed than anything else, but also ticked that we all have to pick the up Bob’s slack. It’s just plain rude.
I should be thanking my lucky stars that my darling bridesmaids are nothing like this team member. My bridesmaids are responsive, enthusiastic and involved. But, there may be some brides out there that have bridesmaids that are…putting it politely…flighty.
Business savvy brides should deal with absent-minded bridesmaids the same way we deal with absent-minded teammates. Here’s what I plan to do.
- Confront the absent-minded in a non-aggressive way. I will ask to speak with Bob privately, explain the behaviors I’ve observed (missing meetings and providing deliverables late if at all), and ask what is going on that has prevented him from contributing the way the others have.
- Identify the root cause of the problem. This phrase “root cause” confused me when I heard it, but it’s rather simple. Think of your problem as a tree. We want to identify where the roots are, so we can find the source of the problem. Maybe Bob was feeling sick this weekend and that’s why he didn’t help. But maybe he feels like his contributions are insignificant and that has deterred him from performing up to par. Whatever it may be, identify the “root cause” early so that it can be addressed.
- Find a solution together that addresses the root cause. I plan to ask Bob for his opinion on what we can do to correct the issue. We is the correct phrase to use because any sort of team work is a partnership where more than one person is involved in its success. If he has no suggestions, I will suggest resolutions, like sending out consolidated meeting notes with specific follow ups via email, reviewing the project plan and our progress during the class break each week, or even meeting a half hour before class to review our deliverables.
You can use these three actions for the rouge-bridesmaid as well. Use this approach without emotion and simply as a way to explore issues. Avoid personal attacks and do not attribute behaviors to a person’s inherit qualities. Simply state the observed behaviors, ask the bridesmaid to answer why she exhibited the behaviors, and find a solution that you both can be happy with.
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