Retail Observer

April 2014

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM APRIL 2014 46 W hile specific roles exist that build team strength and performance, leaders should also understand that other roles exist that also are designed to subvert and undermine overall team strength. These destructive behaviors not only produce a negative team environment, but also often produce a negative work environment that leaders should be aware of. It is important for leaders to consider the existence of both subversive goals, roles and individuals within the organizational environment. Leaders might need to intervene when teams and team members do not possess the strength to both monitor and police individual team behaviors. In other instances, leaders might need to intervene when disruptive individuals refuse to acknowledge the authority and power of a team over their behavior. These individuals need to have their behaviors corrected and, if they fail to respond, they need to be eliminated from the entire organizational environment. Leaders should be familiar with the specific roles that individual team members can assume that will ultimately subvert team strength and overall performance. These include: • Cutting or Shutting Off Discussion—Individuals that assume this role minimize individual contributions or ignore them altogether. They utilize various methods to do that including silence or complete interruption, not allowing the individual team member to provide his or her feedback. Another popular technique is to change the topic or the direction of the conversation. Whatever the method, the role of cutting or shutting off discussions is to undermine the individual team member's feedback and contributions to the team, ultimately destroys their overall usefulness. This results in anger, complaints, arguments, a withdrawal of the team member being minimized and a creation of personal barriers. Due to the insidious nature of this behavior, team leaders must be observant of the team environment to minimize and intervene in order to eliminate this role. • Analyzing and Labeling—Team members that use analyzing and labeling roles will object to the contributions of individual team members by labeling their behavior in a way that describes their attitudes and motives, i.e., racist, bigot, and homophobic. These roles immediately threaten forward progress of any discussion within the group and can ultimately destroy the cohesiveness of the group. Rather than focus on the business at hand, these individuals, with the use of labeling, sidetrack any and all discussion as the individual that has been attacked argues whether the label is justified. This is a popular technique with individuals who have nothing of substance to argue their position with and use labeling to create emotional turmoil within the team environment. • Dominating—The individual team member who assumes the domination role within the group takes over all discussion. These individuals rationalize that they are the only effective members within the group and that all other contributors have nothing of value to offer. These individual team members want to influence the group and can be very heavy-handed in their behavior. They are less interested in the overall groups' goals and interests and are completely focused upon their own personal agendas. When individual team members are allowed to dominate a team environment, it results in a reduction in overall participation and additionally reduces the overall value of the team's resources. • "Yes, But"-ing—Individual team members who assume the "Yes, But" role within the team environment are saying one thing and meaning another. They use the "Yes, But" technique to soften the blow of disagreement. This displays hypocrisy at its worst and personal discounting of individual's contributions at best. This is because the "Yes, But" communicates mixed messages in an ambiguous manner. Leaders should understand that discussions are most effective when communications are conducted utilizing clear and unambiguous messages. • Nay Saying—Individual team members justify their ability to nay say within the team environment by assuming a "devil's advocate" role. This allows them to express negative thoughts and focus the team on the negative aspects of its work. By assuming this role, they assure that what is right about the teams work gets completely buried. Leaders must pay particular attention to the nay saying role when team decisions are considered to be risky, unpleasant or have uncertain consequences. Within this environment, team members can back the nay sayer's position to justify the group behavior. RO Timothy Bednarz Team Training Contact Timothy Bednarz at 715.342.1018 or at timothy. Excerpt from: A Team's Pupose, Function & Use: Pinpoint Leader- ship Skill Development Training Series ROLES THAT SUBVERT TEAM STRENGTH AND PERFORMANCE

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