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How to Manage Difficult Team Members

Let’s face it; we all have to deal with difficult team members from time to time. Whether it’s little issues, such as not showing up to work on time, or bigger ones, like failing to complete tasks on time, it’s important to effectively manage the situation. Six Sigma focuses on providing innovative improvement methods for business processes within your organization. However, these methods can also be used on difficult team members. If you’re having trouble effectively managing your project team members, here’s what you can do to get them back on track.

When Facing Difficult Team Members, Use DMAIC

DMAIC can be referred to as the backbone of Six Sigma methodologies. Its principle is simple; define a problem and finds ways to effectively resolve it. If you work on Six Sigma projects, chances are you have run into DMAIC multiple times. And, rightfully so. Yet, this method is not solely for business processes but also for employees. Every employee is different and thus, has a different work habit. If you have difficulty managing a team member look to DMAIC for help. First, assess the situation; what exactly is going wrong? Once you have this, work with the employee to resolve the problem. It’s important that you keep your focus on providing constructive feedback and assistance when needed.

Listen to Their Voices With DFSS

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is another excellent approach to mitigating difficult employees. This methodology looks at answering two voices; that of the process and that of the customer. In this case, however, you can alter this to answer the voice of the role and that of the employee. First, see what your employee’s role requires. Do they oversee a project? Do they collect and analyze data? Understanding this will help outline where the team member is lacking in the role. Then, consult with your employee and see what might be causing the issues at hand. Sometimes, simply just speaking directly to a team member can help change their work habits and realign their focus with the tasks at hand.

Get to the Bottom with Root Cause Analysis

Sometimes, the problem you see is not always the actual cause of the error. When managing a team, it’s important that information is relayed accurately and tasks are completed on time. However, sometimes this does not go according to plan and issues will arise. For example, if an employee fails to deliver a project status update on time, it’s natural to believe the fault is with said employee. However, taking a closer look may reveal more information. In this case, the employee may have sent you the status report but failed to type the correct email or postal address. In other words, being quick to blame can sometimes not be productive. If you face similar issues, implore methodology of Root Cause Analysis. This method looks to assess a problem within a process, in this case within a team, and find the direct cause of it. Once you know what is causing the issues at hand, it’s much easier to mitigate it.

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