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Chapter 10. Overcoming Team Discord > Team Troublemakers - Pg. 110

Overcoming Team Discord 110 Team Terms Peer Pressure:When team members exert their combined efforts to influence associates who are not meeting expectations. I've heard old-timers tell ambitious newcomers, "Slow down, you're making it bad for the rest of us." The implication is that if they want to be accepted, they follow the informal rules laid down by the group. But peer pressure need not work against the organization. A team member whose poor work habits are holding the team back can be pressured to improve by the rest of the team. It's often done in a negative manner. "Bob, if you want to be one of us, you have to shape up." Failure to comply could lead to being ignored by associates, not invited to partake in after-work activities, or ostracized in the lunch room. Negative peer pressure may work, but positive peer pressure is far more effective. Here is a four-step approach a team leader can take to set the stage for positive peer pressure: 1. Review the expectations of the team. Sometimes the reason the Bobs in your team are not performing as desired is that they don't fully understand what is expected of them. Review with the entire team what each person is required to do to meet the standards. Emphasize timeliness, follow-through, cooperation, and individual responsibility. Give the team an exercise in team building. Ask each team member two questions: "What do you expect from your teammates in order to meet team goals?" and "What can they expect from you?" Lead a discussion on what was brought up and reach a consensus as to the qual- ities that make up a "good" team member. Play up the importance of each team member helping others--not to do their work for them--but to teach them improved techniques, moti- vate them to overcome bad habits, and work cooperatively with the team. Ask members how they believe they match the "good" team member profile. Congratulate them on their strengths and ask how they can help associates who are weak where they are strong. Ask what help they may need to build up their limitations. Offer your assistance, and suggest other team members who may give them support. Follow through. At the end of every project, review how the team functioned. Discuss both group and individual performance. Praise their successes. Ask for suggestions on how they could do an even better job on the next project. If one or more of the members did not meet expectations, enlist the support of the team to identify and correct the problem. 2. 3. 4. Exercises like this not only build up team spirit, but incorporate peer pressure as an integral part of team activity. Members expect their colleagues to demand the best from them and respond posi- tively to their suggestions. Team Troublemakers Teams are made up of people. In many teams there are people whose difficult personalities hamper teamwork. They may be overly sensitive, temperamental, self-centered, negative, or just unhappy. Let's look at some ways to deal with these troublesome members.