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Although you refer to this per son
as a "team member" it doesn't
sound like a lot of team work
is happening here. Without
knowing too much about this
person, you ar e describing
someone whose behaviour is passive -
Passive-aggressive behaviour is
everywhere and it can be so frustr ating in
a workplace where there is meant to be
a common goal, with ever yone working
together to achieve this. Some people can
outwardly seem to agree to actions and
may even appear enthusiastic to pursue
those actions, but they often go off and do
their own thing. Consider some of these
• Firstly, try to reflect on yourself. Is
this per son 'pushing your buttons' ?
For example, is your per sonality style
quite different, par ticularly in relation
to work? Are you a per fectionist and is
this per son the complete opposite? Is
his work style rela xed and your s more
str uctured? Also, are you someone
who avoids conflict and so you have
given this per son the oppor tunity to
continue to act in a passive-aggressive
manner? Did you answer 'yes' to
some of these questions? If so, remind
your self that expecting people to
follow your work ethics and behaviours
may end up creating negative feelings
within yourself. It will then be all too
easy to judge the per son, rather than
• Identify the problem and make this the
problem. Is this person not meeting
deadlines? Not contacting relevant
people to assist in achieving par ticular
goals? Making other work a priority
instead of what you feel is the priority?
By focusing on what is not working, you
are focusing on the behaviour and not
the person. You will never be able to
change the person, but you can take
steps to identify behaviours that do not
work in your team and act on those.
• Ar r ange regular meetings with this
team member, to provide constr uctive
and positive feedback. Focus only
CatholicCare's Counselling Team
Leader, registered psychologist
Tanya Russell, will address an
issue each month.
The advice provided is general
in nature and does not replace
ongoing support and advice
from your health professional.
To talk to someone about
counselling support, P 4979 1172.
Email your question to aurora@
mn.catholic.org.au or write to
Aurora-CareTalk PO Box 756
I manage a small team in a professional environment and am finding it difficult to work with one
particular team member. He consistently agrees to undertake particular responsibilities, but fails
to accomplish the agreed actions, time and time again. He either does not complete the tasks or
completes them later than we agreed. I recently tried to assist him come up with a plan of how to
achieve the most recently set goals and he later accused me of patronising him. I don't know what
else to do. This has been going on ever since I have known him. Any suggestions?
MAKE THE PROBLEM,
on the "work" tasks and involve this
person in coming up with solutions .
Even if you don't tr ust that the team
member will act on the agreed tasks,
seek verbal commitment, set actions
and deadlines and schedule regular
follow-up meetings . When you do this,
you could say that this is impor tant so
that you can both keep tr ack of 'the
project' and come up with ideas as
needed. This makes 'the project', and
not the per son, the focus.
• Let your team member know that your
intention is not to be patronising, but
to work together to achieve set goals .
Also, let your team member know the
impact his behaviour has on you, the
team and/or the project when actions
are not completed on time.
Unfor tunately, if all else fails, and you
continue to have the same conver sations
about lack of progress, you may end up
having to focus on 'the per son' by seeking
advice about per for mance management.
Good luck, and I hope the smaller steps
achieve some success.
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