July 10, 2014 2 Comments
People with Problems
The following is a table of the characteristics or people problems and some suggestions on how to deal with them.
|NAME||CHARACTERISTICS||WHAT TO DO|
|The Latecomer||Always comes late to meetings, makes a show of arrival, and insists on catching up and stopping the group midstream.||Enforce punctuality ground rule; do not disturb meeting or allow person to catch up; talk to during break if necessary.|
|The Early Leaver||Drains group’s energy and morale by leaving meeting before its end.||Handle as a latecomer; do not stop the meeting for one person.|
|The Broken Record||Brings up the same point repeatedly; constantly tries to focus discussion of this issue; can prevent group from moving ahead to new items even if ready.||The broken record needs to be heard. Document their input but do not make it an open item until later in the workshop.|
|The Head Shaker||Actively expresses disapproval through body language and nonverbal cues such as rolling eyes, shaking head, crossing and uncrossing arms, sighing, etc. Covertly influences group to reject an idea.||Simply approach the head shaker. Do not allow these nonverbal cues to continue unnoticed. Use open hands to ask them to orally agree or disagree, depending on their actions.|
|The Dropout||Constantly engaged with their “crackberry” or laptop; expresses disapproval or dislike by ignoring the proceedings; may read, do unrelated paperwork to avoid getting engaged in the session. Caution, a doodler is not dropping out—they may be a horizontal thinker.||Use laser focus so that they know that you see them. During a break, talk to them. Do NOT publicly call out their name and ask for participation.Encourage your culture to embrace “topless meetings” that prohibit laptops and smart devices.
Consider purchasing an electronic “jammer” for USD$50-$100.
|The Whisperer||Constantly whispering during meetings, holding offside conversations; upstages facilitator or session leader, as well as other group members.||Standing close to the whisperer(s) will stop their conversation. Enforce one conversation at a time with the entire group.|
|The Loudmouth||Talks too often and too loudly; dominates the discussion; seemingly impossible to shut up; may be someone who has a higher rank than other group members.||Record input if on topic. If not, direct conversation away; stand in front of person for a short time; talk to during break.|
|The Attacker||Launches verbal, personal attacks on other group members and/ or facilitator; constantly ridicules a specific participant’s or constituency view.||Stand between two people fighting; stop attacks; use additional ground rules to control.|
|The Interpreter||Always speaks for someone else, usually without invitation to do so; restates ideas or meanings and frequently distorts it in the process.||First get original speaker to confirm without embarrassing or putting on the spot and then pass the “talking stick.”|
|The Sleeper||Challenged to stay awake, especially during late afternoon sessions.||Ideally, open a window. Practically, walk around them if possible or apply “hand lotion” near them.|
|The Know-it-all||Uses credentials, age, seniority, etc, to argue a point; focuses group attention on opinion and status as opposed to the real issue.||Often a supervisor or manager; write it down to satisfy and challenge them about relevancy and proof.|
|The Backseat Driver||Keeps telling the session leader or facilitator what to do—or not do; attempts to control the meeting by downgrading facilitator’s efforts.||Listen to some comments—they may be good; never turn over control; talk to during breaks; enforce roles.|
|The Busybody||Always ducking in and out of meetings, does not ask subordinates to hold calls, tries to give impression of being too busy (and therefore important) to devote full attention to the meeting and the group.||Deal with like the latecomer or early leaver; try to establish rules to control during preparation. Allow frequent bio-breaks for people to react to their electronic leashes.|
|The Interrupter||Jumps into the discussion and cuts off someone else’s comments; acts impatient, too excited, or concerned that own ideas will not be acknowledged.||Stop them immediately to protect the source; always get back to them but do not allow them to interrupt; they will learn.|
|The Uninvited||Show up without an invitation||Explain and enforce the role of Observer, noting they may speak during breaks.|
|The Doubting Thomas||Voiced skepticism, shrouded with genuine concern.||Use the “What—So What—Now What” approach. They may be on to something significant.|
|The Quiet Person||While it is true that we are not going to convert quiet people into aggressive extroverts who dominate a meeting, there are steps that facilitators can take to transform the velocity of contributions from quiet people.||
Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiative, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need.
Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).
Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.