Managing Your Team Part 5  Whos Guilty Of PloppingManaging Your Team Part 5 Whos Guilty Of Plopping

In some ways this article is a continuation of Managaging Your Team (Part 4) in that 'influencers from a position of authority or expertise may be guilty (consciously or unconsciously) of ignoring inputs from team members or, just as damaging, putting down / under-valuing the contribution made and the contributor who made it.

Unfortunately, all of us may be guilty of this behaviour from time to time and often this attitude and behaviour will be accompanied with...

"C'mon, I was only joking! Don't be so sensitive"

One of the main root causes of this behaviour, as I have touched on previously is based on our value system.

We live, breath, and act our own values - they are who we are and, therefore, are extremely important to each of us whether we are fully aware of them or not.

In context, think of some practical examples...

  • Never being late for meetings or appointments.
  • Always prepared to listen and not talk over others.
  • If a commitment is made, it is kept.
  • Mobile 'phones remain switched off in team meetings.
  • Treat others as you would wish them to treat you.
  • You've guessed it, not surprisingly, these are values that are very important to me in both my personal and business lives. Yours may be the same or totally different. To illustrate the point...

    Punctuality is extremely important to you, it is one of your primary values. So, how do you feel when team members regularly turn up late to your meetings? How do those who turn up on time feel when you wait until everyone has arrived before you start the meeting? What message are you sending out?

    NOW, let's say you have just given your views, made a suggestion to the group and it is completely ignored. How do you feel?

    Who's guilty of plopping - you are - you've just plopped! Everyone else continues with the group discussion which bears no relevance to the inputs you've made.

    You're left sitting there (or worse standing there) wondering what the heck has just happened.

    O.K. in the overall scheme of things it will happen to all of us at some time and by understanding that fact, we won't get things out of perspective or over-react.

    However, we do need to focus on the challenge or issue when a team member is ignored or under-valued repeatedly by the rest of the team or one individual frequently under-values other team members

    You could argue that the title of this article should be...

    Who's Guilty of Making Me Plop?"

    Just maybe...

  • I did not make my inputs clear enough
  • Actually, what I said was somewhat irrelevant to the main point
  • Other team members misunderstood what I meant
  • I was guilty of interrupting someone else and breaking their flow
  • My action caused someone else to 'plop' or feel discounted
  • So, one theme you'll find in a number of these articles is our duty of care to our fellow team members. It is encumbent on all of us to guide our team colleagues, respect their contributions, seek clarification if necessary - don't discount it or them, and where appropriate, provide constructive feedback to those who are consciously or unconsciously undervaluing other team members.

    And, what can I do as team leader?

  • Training can be beneficial at any time. However, if the team is newly formed or there are some mew members, training in techniques such as effective listening, giving and receiving feedback, and other positive behavioural change courses will definitely help.
  • All team members should reach consensus on what the 'ground rules' are for their team sessions and agree that it is legitimate to point out (constructively) when any of these rules are broken.
  • Be there for the under-valued person - support them visibly in the team setting - again, constructively. Please don't support the person who has been ignored or under-valued by then under-valuing someone else in the group. Simple example of support without pointing the finger...

    "Before we move on, I think what Joe said is worth consideration so let's spend some more time discussing it"

  • If this is a behaviour used frequently by one individual, the appropriate action is NOT to confront them in the team setting. Arrange to talk to them one-on-one using the techniques learned in giving constructive feedback.
  • Managing Your Team (Part 6) will look at "You Two, Stop Fighting"

    by Andrew Gowans
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