Eliminate Negative Teamwork Personalities with Positive Team Goals
Working in a variety of team-based environments has afforded me the opportunity to work with a variety of different types of personalities at the work place. I am constantly observing the different types of attitudes, dissecting their motives, and trying to figure out solutions that will benefit the team as a whole.
I very much enjoy working in a team environment; collaborating, learning from each other, becoming friends (because you must trust other team members in order to have a solid group), brewing ideas, and developing new strategies. Having a job is more than learning the latest trends on HTML or WordPress, it is about being with a group of people you trust, respect, and truly enjoy being together. We spend most of our time away from home with our “co-workers” and they become more like a “family” after a while.
Unfortunately, as we spend so much time with a group of people, it is inevitable that we will be exposed to each other’s flaws. These are just a few examples of negative personality types that can hinder the flow of a team, derailing the project and cohesive nature of the team itself.
- The “Know It All”
There is nothing more annoying, in my opinion, than the person who thinks they know it all. Whether because they hold all the possible degrees in school or have been in the industry for many years, this personality type can try and dictate the outcome, even if it against the initial project specifications.
Being in a team is not about who knows more than the next person, there is always room to learn from one another, rather than trying to establish some kind of hierarchy on one another. Being in a position of “subject matter expert” is an opportunity to teach others the tricks to help them in their career not an opportunity to show how much knowledge life has given you. The more knowledge that is passed on other team members, in a collaborative way, the more likely the team is to succeed.
- The “Do It All”
Project monopolizing is not uncommon in a competitive group of people. These are the ones that want to do it all, and not leave any room for anyone else to “get in.” While not always an intentional act, controlling the project single-handily is extremely inefficient.
Each team member has a tremendous impact on the project, and their contribution to each step of the way is crucial for a favorable outcome. Collaborate with your team members by excelling at the given task. Ask others if help is needed, if your task is finished, but do not take over someone else’s task just to prove you can do it all.
- The “Unrelenting Pessimist”
This is the person who always finds the negative side on situations. “Oh this can’t be done,” “This really sucks,” “I hate doing this task,” “I hate the people I’m doing the task for,” or “We always do things the wrong way.” These sentiments steer a project in the wrong direction.
Instead of concentrating on the negative aspects of the project, try to come up with solutions to help the smooth development of it. Outwardly, saying bad things already sets a pattern for the given task to fail. Recognizing a problem, or gap in the project is encouraged, but by not offering a solution the problem becomes an elephant in the room. Nothing is perfect, but having a positive attitude or solution-based attitude will help the proper outcome of the project.
- The “1-2-3 Not It” Guy
This one is the worst of all in my book: a person that will blame a simple “falling through the cracks task” on other team members to avoid taking the blame. This person will find all the excuses to use and it is never their fault.
Part of being human is making mistakes, and if we don’t own our faults we will never be able to grow as a person or in our careers. If you find that one of your team members has thrown you under the bus, it leaves a bad feeling of “mis-trust” toward that person and disrupts the synergy of the team. A team needs to stick together and help each other, and if someone drops the ball (for whatever reason), it is best to own the mistake, come up with a solution, or speak with your manager about how to improve the process instead of blaming your team members for everything. You are more likely to get help from your team members and sympathy from your boss, than washing your hands and blaming the fault on others.
- The “Passive Aggressive”
Yes, we have all encounter this kind of person on our team. They will, without fail, find the way to get the idea through, or will sabotage the project because their idea was not taken into consideration. The entire strategy of this person is to get the team to admit, this person was right all along. Someone with this kind of attitude is very dangerous to work with.
Resorting to passive aggressive behavior will only result on the project falling through, or a terrible outcome for the client. This also shows this particular team member is not really interested in working in a team, but rather working solo in order to get recognition by their peers out of insecurity.
At the end of the day working in a team it is a great opportunity to learn from another and to become better at what you do. Recognizing our own mistakes will make us better human beings because we can learn from our mistakes and overcome them. Working in a group of people gives you the opportunity to learn from one another, become better at what we do, and produce better products for our clients. It is like a force that only gets stronger as we learn to work together in harmony and unison. Trust and a positive attitude will go a long way in a team. I realize that the key for a team of people to succeed more than having a good strategy to get things done, is learn to treat others the same way you’d like to be treated.