Teamwork Gone Wrong

August 20, 2018

Teamwork Gone Wrong

What happened?

In the last post, you returned after a week off to find that an important report hadn’t gone out. You thought you could have counted on Megan for her teamwork. You need to talk to her.

Talk to Megan

After discussions about the state of your father’s health, you get down to brass tacks. You Skype her.

YOU: I was disappointed the report wasn’t finished on time.
Megan: I sent you what I could. I didn’t have all the data.
YOU: Did you bug Jean? She’s not great about deadlines.
Megan: Every day. Wednesday, she said she’d do it but it didn’t come in time.
YOU: Why didn’t you call me?
Megan: I didn’t want to bother you. After all, your father and all.
YOU: You could have left a message.
Megan: I guess so.
YOU: Come on, Megan, what’s really going on?
Megan: (sigh) Jean’s a nice person, I didn’t want to get her into trouble.
YOU: But that meant we didn’t meet our deadline.
Megan: Well, I knew it would be better for you to talk to her as you’re the boss.

Why didn’t Megan call you?

Here is an example of where keeping harmony in the group is more important than the work. Megan was willing (and did) let things fail rather than upset the apple cart.

In addition, remember she’s new to your group. She doesn’t know whether you let Jean get away with not responding to colleagues’ requests. Wisely erring on the side of caution, she assumed you did and might not thank her for pointing out the problem Jean was creating.

The paramount importance of harmony

This is not an undercurrent that you can allow to continue but, actually, you have a lot going against you to change it. As I mentioned earlier, avoiding conflict is what most of us do. Good relationships and teamwork are not only more pleasant but usually more productive.

Usually. There are times, and this was one of them, where the desire for harmony in the group led them astray. It was more important to avoid conflict than get the work done.  It caused real problems.

So, how do you tackle this overwhelming need to keep things calm even when the right thing would have been to stir things up? I’ll deal with that in the next post. And by the way, you have some issues with Jean that I’ll deal with in other posts.

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