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The Uncollaborator

Tags:  Collaboration, Teams, Jerks at work

Ever work with someone who always wants to go against the grain? They just seem to find pleasur in playing the find pleasure in playing the naysayer

It's not fun working with people like that, but sometimes you have to. It's an unfortunate fact of life. What you should know is that there are ways to handle this kind of person. Sure you may want to slap them upside the back of the head to knock some sense into them, but you'd be better off following these Guideposts:

1. Keep the focus on the problem; ignore non-productive negative behavior

Okay, so they're driving you crazy with their constant complaining and pointing out that the glass is half empty instead of half full. What you've got to do is control the situation and redirect their energy.

That means ignoring their non-productive behavior – as difficult as that may be – and keeping them focused on the problem. If the challenge is to correct an error or redo a project, help them to de-personalize the situation and see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

2. Ignore the ignoring; resist the temptation to become defensive

It's right about now that your impulse is to walk, make that run, away. But don't give up yet. Your goal is to move this project along, so that means you need to resist the desire to get angry or become upset and attack the uncooperative employee.

Reiterate the importance of seeing another point of view. Continue to push them toward the goal of understanding that there are other people involved in the decision-making process. Remind them that working on a team means collaboration.

3. Discontinue the meeting; state your intent (to not participate in the conversation until the person changes behavior)

Know that you do not have to continue this process forever. If the uncooperative team member refuses to listen to reason, you can pull the plug.

Notify him or her that you will no longer participate in this nonproductive conversation. Bring the meeting to an end with the caveat that you are willing to reopen the discussion once the person modifies his or her poor behavior. Then leave it at that. It is up to the person who is not collaborating to reopen the meeting. Be sure to make note of what transpired and how things ended. Notify your supervisor – especially if the two of you report to the same person – of the events that took place.

Try as you might some people are so focused on themselves that they just can't see another point of view. It can be difficult working with them. However, it's not impossible. It's just like Kenny Rogers once sang, ""Know when to hold and know when to fold them.""

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