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Chapter 13. When Team Members Don't Make... > Salvage the Situation - Pg. 150

When Team Members Don't Make the Grade 150 When the Problem Is Technical Competence One of the common assumptions in making assignments is that the members who will do the work have the capability of performing it--and this is usually true. Members are chosen primarily because of their job knowledge. But often, as projects become more complex, there may be members who are weak in some areas. Some may have not have kept up with the technology; others may have concentrated on some phases but have only cursory knowledge of others. The team leader must quickly identify the limitations of each member. Asking the members if they're able to take on the assignment is not enough, Many people--espe- cially if they've worked in related areas--may think they have the know how, but don't. Others may be reluctant to admit lack of knowledge. These type situations can be minimized by · Making a practice of quizzing each member assigned to a new project on his or her knowledge and experience in that area. By making it a routine practice, when members are quizzed they will not feel you are doubting their capability. · Before starting on the project, conduct a refresher program covering the type of work involved and the methods and procedures to follow, and give members the opportunity to ask questions without fear of being looked down upon as unqualified. · Determine which members need shoring up in some aspects of the project and arrange for special training or coaching right from the beginning. This will prevent errors, slowdowns, and potential problems. · Monitor the project carefully during the first phase. Observe which members are having problems and what type help they need--and provide it. · If one or more members need more personal attention than you have time for, ask some of the more knowledgeable associates to mentor them. · If several members are having difficulties with the assignment, arrange for added training--even if it requires training sessions after normal working hours. Team Builder Team leaders should be sure that members have the skills, knowledge, and training to tackle any new project the team is assigned. If you're not sure, test the members to identify weaknesses and take steps to provide the training that will enable them to perform up to the expected standards. Coaching and mentoring were covered in detail in Chapter 8. A discussion of training methods will be found in Chapter 23. When the Problem Is Personal There's no way that personal problems can be totally divorced from job performance. When people come to work, they can't store all of their personal worries in their lockers and forget about them until they check out at the end of the day. These worries and concerns are with them all of the time --and they do affect the way they work.