Recently training a team of senior Architects they were talking about how in such a creative industry, dealing with team members who get carried away with their own ideas can disrupt projects by going off brief, overriding agreed decisions and not working as part of a team...
This is not unique to Architects, it happens in other business too. Here are some ways leaders can deal with this:
What are the consequences of the behaviour?
This behaviour can be annoying but before you jump in and confront the person, consider what the impact of their behaviour is on the team and organisation. People who get carried away with their own ideas usually believe they are making a contribution by acting in this way. They might think they are improving the scope of a project or working on a better outcome for the client. Is it just an inconvenience, or is this causing the team or the project real issues? If the impact is small, ask yourself whether it’s something you can live with.
This can have a bigger impact than you might first think though. How does the client see it? Could they be losing trust in your team because of the lack of joined up approach or might this persons behaviour be seen as risky? Are you wasting time going round in circles, having to work through new ideas when items have already been decided on? Are they risking the delivery of the project with their behaviour?
Addressing the behaviour
If it is possible deal with it whilst saving the face for the other person. Start with distraction techniques; if someone is rambling off tangent in a meeting about their new idea, step in and steer the course of the meeting somewhere else.
If that’s not appropriate or doesn’t work you need to address the problem directly. Address the behaviour and negative consequence of it.
Saying ‘I’ve noticed you’ve been going direct to the client with ideas we haven’t talked through, this is risking the time/ quality/ delivery of the project and making the client nervous’ is more effective than saying ‘You are getting carried away with your ideas’. They are less likely to take it personally or get defensive. Tell them what you want them to do instead of the problem behaviour, it helps people to be clear on what is expected of them not just behaviour you want them to stop.
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Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, John is also a Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. His new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.