How to Deal With Challenging Team Members – Part 3

When dealing with challenging team members, you must first attempt to identify the root cause of the issue. Each situation is unique, and your strategy to deal with the issue will need to fit your unique situation.

However, there are basic strategies you must know to deal with challenging team members effectively. In this 3-part series, I focused on these.

There are primarily three types of challenging team members: nonperforming team members; uncollaborative team members; and noncompliant team members. The first two types have been the topics of previous posts. In this post, I focus my attention on the third type: noncompliant team members.

Noncompliant team members constantly violate policy. They seem to believe that the rules of the workplace don’t apply to them. For example, they arrive late or miss work often—they have many excuses but no valid reason; they break the dress code; they misuse company resources for personal purposes; etc.

As the leader, you can’t ignore such behavior; you must deal with it swiftly. Not only is it your role to address the situation, but it’s also vital to your team’s health. As with the other challenging team members, noncompliant team members can corrode your team dynamic.

Face-to-Face Meeting

Noncompliant team members must be handled head-on—with no meandering. Chances are they already know they’re walking a thin line. However, they need to hear that there’s no free-for-all in your team and that you, the leader, are serious about the company’s policy (or team rules).

Present to them the undeniable facts about their unacceptable behavior. The more precise, the better. They must know without a doubt which behavior you’re addressing.

Also, explain the effects of their behavior (e.g. their noncompliance makes them seem unprofessional; it affects their work; it impacts the team; etc.). Remind them of company policy (or team rules) and make sure your expectations are clear.

Of course, give them a chance to provide you with any important, contextual information and encourage them to participate in finding a viable solution.

Disciplinary Track

If despite your efforts to help a noncompliant team member correct their behavior, they refuse to improve, you have no choice but to take them through your organization’s disciplinary track. Most likely, this will involve your human resources department.

Don’t feel bad for having to take someone through your organization’s disciplinary track, as if it was your fault. It’s not. You’re not the one who has been breaking the rules (and often you’re not even the one who established the rules; you’re just required to make sure your team follows the rules).

Like in society, your organization sets rules, which employees must follow, and they fail to do so, they suffer the consequences. You’re not responsible for their noncompliance; they are. Thus, they’re held accountable for the actions—as they are anywhere else in society.

Whether you’re dealing with nonperforming, uncollaborative, or noncompliant team members, the spirit (i.e. attitude) with which you handle them counts more than anything. As their leader, your role is to help them meet the requirements of their position. Your objective is to help them perform their work with excellence, collaborate with others effectively, and comply with the organization’s rules.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.