Taming the Team Rebel

Almost every team has at least one rebel. The team rebel is the person who doesn't want to be involved in team functions. They may express their reluctance to team by saying that they just want to be left alone so they can get their work done, or they may be outright nasty with other team members. Some rebels like to criticize team actions, yet fail to make constructive suggestions as to how to improve upon the status quo. The rebel's resistance, no matter how it manifests, is sure to interfere with team relationships, and impact negatively on team performance. Rebels cannot go unchecked.

There are several tactics that can be used to engage the rebel. The first is to simply put the rebel in charge of the thing s/he is the most upset about. If the rebel feels morale is low, then you put the rebel in charge of morale building activities to be done at team meetings. If the rebel feels others on the team are shoddy in their work production, ask the rebel to become a peer mentor for the individual that s/he feels needs to improve. If the rebel is the lone wolf type, involve him/her in planning social events for the team, such as family fun days or the Christmas party.

The premise behind each of these strategies is that it is very difficult to resist something that you are leading. By virtue of the fact that the rebel is in greater control of the situation than before, s/he will begin feeling more satisfied with it. Each time the rebel comments negatively, or complains about some aspect of the workplace, the same question should be posed, "What can be done to improve the situation and what action are you willing to take to see that this problem is remedied?" Eventually, the rebel will stop complaining and learn to get along, or he/she will facilitate needed workplace improvements.

Either way, it is a win-win situation


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