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Dealing with a challenging person(7 Posts)
I am working on a project with a team that isn't my normal team. I am leading the project but there are other people at the same level as me in the team so I am not the most senior person. We have regular meetings, conference calls and emails to all members.
One team member is challenging to deal with because she is enthusiastic but has lots of ideas which often aren't practical or sensible. I find I am spending a lot of time politely discussing the pros and cons of them before dismissing them but she comes up with so many I feel a) it derails things and we are wasting time discussing these ideas rather than focussing on what is important and b) I look like I am negative and it could seem like I am negative specifically towards her. I am known for being fair and open to input but she is turning me into someone else.
If I was her line manager I would be able to handle this but the dynamics are different. I don't want to speak to her manager because it would be blowing things out of all proportion but I have started dreading interactions with her and she is probably feeling less than positive towards me now.
Other people have commented to me that her ideas are not realistic but she is a nice person so no one will speak up about it to her face.
How would you handle this situation? I am usually good at sticking to an agenda and bringing the discussion back to the pertinent points but she is very persistent and will return to the same subject again and again even when a decision has been made and we have moved on.
Can you ask her to do some further research on these ideas and come back to you with some researched information / figures / etc.?
So you aren't having to go into detail, looking through all the pros and cons for each thought that comes to her ?
Innovation and creativity are to be nurtured not stifled. Most great ideas are borne from nuggets of truth that people could have dismissed, but thought about them from a different perspective.
Interesting that you characterise a challenging person in terms of a problem. I'd say they are an asset. Celebrate diversity, it's a gift.
I'd ask each person to bring one proposal each to the next meeting. This has the added advantage that anyone who's less confident in proposing a course of action gets the opportunity to voice their opinion, too. Make it clear that if you want to hear one idea from each person!
I'm not against creativity daisychain. In other circumstances I would welcome it. These ideas are often just too out there and not based in reality because they aren't related to her area of expertise and often aren't even relevant to what's being discussed.
I have asked her to look into some of the ideas. I suppose that is the only way to go.
Asking for one contribution from each person may help.
It is difficult to put ideas into action, especially if you don't have the resource to make significant changes.
Maybe thank her for her contributions and take on board other people's ideas too.
Presumably she isn't insisting you must enact her ideas, so if none of them are in any way realistic and practical and you don't have the resource to enact what she comes out with, then acknowledgement is the best you can do. But maybe be receptive in case something she says is worth considering,
To be honest I would talk to her manager. She needs feedback that the member of staff, while enthusiastic, is offering suggestions without thinking them through and it is wasting people's time. You can phrase it that she is easy to work with etc and pop in lots of positives but say she could use work on when and how it is appropriate to submit ideas.