This was one of the common concern of participants at a recent workshop on team collaboration. We were discussing how the only one person we can change in the world, is oneself.
And the participants countered that they may change their performance and contribute but what about when other team members don't work. How will changing their behaviour matter. So I asked them to analyse the possible reasons why someone may not be contributing and the following probable causes came out
1) Lack of Skills - concerned person may lack the necessary skills and is embarrassed to share the same. Thus his/her way out is to keep quiet and not contribute
2) Lack of Self Belief - a version of the above point
3) Fixed Mindset - the thought process is that depending upon my salary and designation I should contribute only this much.
4) Ego issues - My suggestion wasn't implemented so why should I contribute
5) Personal problems - The person may be going through a tough phase on health or family front
6) Tasks not defined properly or Tasks assigned to others, not shared resulting in lack of coordination
7) Lack of big picture/ Connectivity - Why should I help
Then I asked them to suggest solutions and below points emerged from within the group.
1) Lack of Skills/ Self Belief - Empathise. Try to help. One or more members have to take initiative to approach the concerned person and subtly offer to help. But this is only possible if there is an existing relationship based on trust with that member
2) Fixed Mindset/ Ego Issues/ Lack of big picture, connectivity - a) Infuse energy in the team by motivating everyone. This may be done by posting motivation messages etc but most importantly by LEADING BY EXAMPLE. Taking initiative selflessly, doing tasks and posting in the group. Creating positivity.
3) Personal problems - Understand, Empathise and do his/her share of work as much as possible.
4) Tasks not defined properly - this is tricky because here the person responsible is a senior level person who didn't do his/her job properly. So it needs diplomatic handling and unless there is a very good relationship with the senior level person, may cause repercussions.
But as can be seen, then I was able to re-iterate that apart from one issue all the others could be handled by oneself. Only requirement is to change our mindset and try becoming a Giver. Which is easily doable using Mind Techniques. Then I proceeded to do an activity involving muscle strength to show that the group synergy can make a person feel strong and lack of the same can have the opposite effect. Thus when one infuses energy in the group selflessly, it energises the group which in turn energises each individual and which creates a perpetual cycle of positivity and energy. Examples of teams like New Zealand cricket team who punch above their weight were shared.
The reason why it doesn't get done is because we become emotional in this situation, as a result our thinking brain stops working and because of our past programming we handle the situation negatively and everything goes down in a negative spiral.
This was followed with a mind-programming session to
1) Mitigate the negative emotions attached with the situation when other team members don't contribute and
2) Create some fresh neutron patterns to be a Giver, making efforts to spend time with other people in understanding them and creating a relationship so that one can motivate them in such situations. Thankfully participants accepted that by changing their behaviour they may make other members contribute in a team environment.