I am asking myself how to perform in a 2-man team which isnt performing as a team in any way.

I am employed as Information Analyst (non-manager) and my function is (at this site,for the past 2 months), to gather requirements, feedback them to the client'steering comittee and coordinate the various other project teams. Furthermore we use RUP and use cases to model the system. My fellow team member (since 2 months) is doing a really terrifc job however he is flatly ignoring my existance. He acts as if to proof his capabilities by negating use cases written by me, and liasing with other project teams without informing me about his planning. To the client and other teams it likely is perceived that he is the driving force in our team, lessening my value. To my dismay he would hijack my suggestions and call on meetings, then present my suggestions as his own inventions.

My idea of teamwork is that we present a unified front. I present him with a weekplanning regarindg my (daily) activities, walk up to him twice or more a day for a work-update. He knows everything about my work, and my plans. In other aspects we differ too. I am focused on Proces engineering (what the system will do) and he goes into the nitty gritty details (how it will be done). I think we can combine both our capabilities for a great solution of excellent quality which would satisfy requirements.

I thought about going the same way as he: schedule meetings etc which would invariably lead to desasters in planning, miscommunications. At the moment i maintain a unified front by supporting his work. However a really clever Architect questioned when i presented a use case model which was totally different from his. My teammember slapped my work down by saying: "no that is old stuff from 2 weeks ago". Partly true -- it was made 2 weeks ago and updated yesterday.

I try to apply a Manager Tools approach;
1. I engaged in a informal meeting with him, asking him to keep me up to speed about his work.
2. Asked him to not schedule meetings without my knowledge and, invite me to attend as well.
3. Asked him to, before sending a mail, allow me to review it and lets discuss.
4. Sent out a (weekly) planning to project management then invited comments from both my team member and prj. manager.
5. Invite him to all discussions, even when he is not at his desk, delaying a discussion awaiting his availability.
6. Tell and then show. Communicate my intentions, then asking him for his suggestions.
7. Invited him to give me feedback on my performance, frustrations or wherever he wants something from me. So far in 2 months time: NONE.

I have noticed that my prj. manager usually comes to talk to me first, then to him. The guy is acting really weird, standing on attention as if in the army, talking very fast, overly using hand gestures. In mornings the man is too shy to even say "Hallo". But, his proactive approach of engaging other teams he is contributing to my development.

I would like to know is how to become part of this "team"? And any other constructive Manager Tools suggestions?

sklosky's picture


A couple suggestions.

1. Use the DISC model to identify your fellow team member's profile. Then use the DISC cheat sheet to communicate with this person in his native language.

2. Focus on his strengths, not his weaknesses.

3. Remember that he (just like you) reports to your boss. Study your boss carefully (use the related podcasts) to support his goals.

Good luck.


WillDuke's picture
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I agree with Steve about DISC profiling. Anything that helps your communication is going to help you.

I'd like to add that you cannot create a team. Teams happen. You can set the stage with good communication. See comment above about adjusting your communication style. But if it don't happen, it don't happen.

PEER FEEDBACK. Go check out the podcast.

Focus on your work. Do what you need to do. Don't get caught up in whether or not you're getting credit. Whether or not he's getting away with anything. That will just make you crazy. In the end, performance counts. Your boss knows who is performing. Work for your boss. Make your boss successful. Most of the time your boss will take care of you; it's in their best interest.

merasmus's picture

I thought to update on my original post, and also listened to that podcast episode and are applying that and more priniciples.

The situation has improved very much and after a personal talk with my teammate (lets call this >45-years old male BB1) he has revealed some historical traumatic events. He told me, that his previous project was ran bij a overly dominant teamlead which explains the behavior of BB1, he is now on a personal mission to prove his capacities, capabilities and skills.

To his credit: BB1 is doing a real good job, he is thorough, consice, proactive, with a eye for details asking the correct questions which puts other teams on their toes.

What i have done is;
* Trying to establish rapport.
* Scientifically outlined what i want from him, and how we will communicate with each other.
* Invited BB1 to give me feedback.

1. Try to establish rapport. Bury my frustrations and try to make idle talk with BB1 at lunchtimes. It fails.
2. Later on allowed him to dominate me and adjusted to his frame of life: no idle talk,, only production, and allowed him to crisize and dismember my work.
3. Engaged my Project Manager and informed him of my frustrations, though told him i am working on resolves.
4. Asked BB1 if he would give me feedback, so we can increase quality and maintain a full production-cycle.
5. Implemented a 4-times per day meeting between each other. He writes, communicates or talks to nobody without my participation.
6. Establish comfort with BB1;
6.1 He has my support in his daily work.
6.2 We together review each other' production to enhance quality.
6.3 Planning, workbreakdown structure. Outline exactly which actions are to be taken for a day, and weeklys basis.
7. Asked him if he minds me helping him on his body language, and preception of sell-worthiness.

So far things have been going very well, though due to an distrust of other humans establishing rapport with BB1 is impossible.

I understand perfectly well;
* Support my project manager to achieve his goals.
* The success of the project is crucial.
* Bury your personal feelings. Smile and work on a constructive solution.

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

Merasmus - it sounds like you're making headway. Congratulations!

Since you haven't mentioned your or your peer's DISC profile I'll assume you haven't identified them yet. Honestly, this will be a tremendous help with your communications.

For instance, if you were a high S, your instincts are to be aware of everyone's feelings. Before diving into "work" you'd spend time finding out how your peer's weekend was. How his family's doing. How he's feeling today. If he were a high D, this would drive him nuts. He'd just want to get to work.

There's no right and wrong personality profile. But there are conflicting types. But there's nothing that says you have to act the way your profile identifies you. By being aware of other people's preferences you can tailor your approach to appeal to them.

Mike & Mark have put out a series of casts on DISC profiling. You have to be a member, but membership is free. Check them out. Then there's a cast on tailoring feedback using DISC. This is big payoff information.

He might never invite you over for barbecue, but he can enjoy working with you. And that's how you can set the stage for teamwork and trust to appear.