A Circuit Breaker

team building

Will your team break down at some point? You can bet on it.

Someone will develop a penchant for being late or always have an excuse for not getting their assignment done. Another person may suck up all the oxygen in a room while the “quiet” one will rarely participate because “he prefers to listen.”

Sometimes you will need to talk to a person alone and other times it’s best to do it as a team. The circumstances will dictate which route you take. In either case, consider following these words of wisdom from John Maxwell, who writes and speaks on leadership:

  • Do it as soon as possible after the incident.
  • Speak to one issue at a time.
  • Don’t keep repeating the same thing. Do it once.
  • Avoid sarcasm.
  • Avoid words like “never” and “always.”
  • Present criticism as suggestions.
  • Don’t apologize for the confrontational meeting.
  • Don’t forget the compliments.

Once again, these are all basic courtesies that we should readily afford one another. However, in our emotional state, we are prone to forget. Have I ever repeated myself? Been sarcastic? Dredged up three lifetimes of history? Did I ever win the argument? Surely you jest.

A student shared this story: “We had been doing great work throughout the quarter, but one of our team members was constantly late. It was starting to grate on us as we felt that his lateness indicated a lack of dedication to the team and that it was hurting our efficiency. We sat down, shared our feelings and told him that we wanted everyone to do the best work possible. We were open and honest and so was he and things improved greatly from thereon.”

So, do not be afraid to use this circuit breaker when needed. You will be far more effective and less stressed.

Verinder Syal, Author: Discover The Entrepreneur Within

Written by Verinder Syal
Verinder is the Principal at Thoughtful Simplicity, an award-winning teacher at Northwestern University, and the author of Discover The Entrepreneur Within.