Many years ago I had an opportunity to participate in a group-based behavioural program oriented to problem-solving in the workplace. Among the many useful things I gained from the experience, a particularly important element emerged while engaged in various role-play exercises regarding co-worker personality traits; and how best to maximize communications that aided the de-confliction of inter-personal boggles.
The end result allowed me to understand, and accept, that we are all individually prone to particular trigger behaviors that are largely guided by personal experiences. Over time, these events create intellectual biases that emerge consciously, or unconsciously, depending on one situation or the other.
As a result, I gained new insights that I immediately applied to my daily staff work as a senior executive, while at the same time becoming a better ERP team member myself. Consequently, I am going to offers some of these insights in hopes that you will find some value in your own work.
1. The whiner
It is unlikely that any major systems project is devoid of stress, including the potential of various task errors, schedule mis-matches, and sudden budget concerns usually all running in parallel. This is particularly true when is comes to ERP systems, since they are highly-complex beasties who tend to subsume virtually all processes within an enterprise infrastructure. Project managing an ERP implementation can therefore be tricky at times.
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Consequently, if a team-member is prone to complain or whine about one thing or another, additional friction can appear within a task-group; and if this type of concern is not dealt quickly, the entire fabric of a workforce can be negatively impacted.
In my experience, the best case response is to attempt to mitigate the individual’s angst by canvassing his/her concern directly; acknowledge the issue, then offer whatever available remedial is at-hand. Sometimes this response will be immediately helpful, and sometimes not; but at least the individual has had an opportunity to air any concerns up the chain that tends to neutralize a situation in the near-term.
2. The angry one
In this case, angry ERP team members are not necessarily irritated by one or more negative issues at all, but instead are being driven by internal quality assurance needs that, in turn, trigger obvious behaviors that are seen to be negative, but in the individual’s mind, see these responses as being entirely true to the tenets and spirit of a particular project goal.
This personality type typically calls for what I refer to as a “reverse-assurance“ approach. If you have identified the individual’s motive as being positive, but the individual’s behaviors scream “pissed off”, many times this attitude can be mitigated by assuring the team-mate that he/she is being properly acknowledged, followed by listing all of the things that are being to get the job done correctly the first time.
Again, sometimes this cause an immediately positive response; and sometimes not, but just having the conversation can usually allow the individual to vent and turn a task-group’s temperature down a tick.
3. The time-waster
Some folks are just slow to complete work tasks. It’s not that they’re particularly incompetent, but instead are interested in double and triple checking every minor detail until it had been beaten to death; leading to schedule slips and general irritation with other team-mates.
In this case, once this trait has been identified, I tend to reduce tasking for this individual, since given this behavior, it’s probably better to have the individual finish a single task well, and within necessary milestones; rather than having an entire team standing in his/her doorway with torches and pitchforks.
4. The analytic
This personality trait is sometimes related to “time-wasting”, but more times than not, has to do with negative behaviors relating to unnecessary discussion once a decision has been made, and it’s simply time to do the job. Frankly, in this case, there’s really not much you can do, since analytic’s tend to go on even though one or more tasks may only exist in the dim past.
That said, however, my management responses tend to apply a similar approach to the ‘time-waster’ by simply trimming down this individual’s workload in hopes that he/she will get necessary tasks somewhere within the projected task schedule, with a minimum of extraneous dialogue.