Difficult Team Member!

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I work on a small team where we all report to the same Director. One of the team members is "favored" and isn't required to do much of anything. This person is very incompetent, slow and difficult. As a result, the rest of us have to work harder to make up for this.

This team member is supposed to be in an administrative role. However, the project managers on the team are not permitted to delegate anything to her (i.e. faxing, photocopying, etc.). Therefore, we are totally bogged down in little tasks.

Despite the fact that many people in my organization have complained about this person to the Director, he refuses to do ANYTHING! It's getting to the point where we all can't stand working with her! Help!!!

-- Lisa (sbudge@maccosmetics.com), November 03, 1999


First of all, you have to find out if there is any special relationship between the Director and the "favored" team member. If the answer is yes, you cannot change anything and you may consider to look for another boss. If not, you can try the following steps. 1. You should be aware that no one likes complaints. So, you should investigate why the director does not do anything? Is it because he hates complaint? He avoids handling complaints? He does not note the problem of his "favored" staff? Get the answer first. 2. You and other team members can try other approaches. You should show the Director that all of you are already too busy to handle such little things. If the Director cannot help, your productivity will somehow be affected. The Director must concern about the productivity. Ask the Director to find a new assistant for your team. Let's see what he will do. 3. When you are complaining, always remember to use positive wordings. Don't let the boss to feel you are bad-mouthing others. Hope you can solve your problem.

-- Dorina Liu (dorina@chesan.com.hk), February 10, 2000.


As a team member do you have meetings when this person is present?

Can you delegate her work through this forum - set time frames etc and bring issues back to the next meeting? All outcomes (positive or negative ) should be minuted. This could be brought to her or the Directors notice. Keep persuing this line.

Alternatively each of you who expect this person to perfom - when this fails to happen, individually take this person aside and speak to her setting guidelines and time frames. If at first you do not succeed try, try again - soonshe will respond in one way or another.

-- Andrea Jolly (jol@chariot.net.au), June 09, 2000.

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