Dealing with Difficult Team Members: The Pain in the Neck

Team Building and leadership expert Michael Cardus

Generally there are 12 types of team members that can become difficult. It is imperative that you 1. Try to figure out the team members behavior; 2. Look for cooperation and the positive side of the behavior and build on that; 3. Try the suggested ideas for ameliorating the negative sides of the behavior; 4. Treat the person as a competent adult due your full respect and attention.


12 Types of Difficult Team Members

  • The Veteran
  • The Perfectionist
  • The Pain in the Neck
  • The Rambler
  • The Legalist
  • The Mediator
  • The Power Manager
  • The Silent Type
  • The Disengaged Member
  • The Raging Bull
  • The Not-Enough-Time Member
  • The Big Kahuna


The Pain in the Neck: consistently argumentative, every slight change and task and work expectation is a HUGE ordeal.
(-) Causes conflict, causes team to lose focus from the tasks at hand
(+) Brings up opposing and alternative viewpoints
  • Stick to the agenda and use it as a tool to re-focus this person and the team. The agenda can assist in getting-things-done and sticking to time-frames.
  • Listen, respect, and summarize their concerns and move on. Generally they just want to be heard. Acknowledge, Summarize the key points and keep moving.
  • Steer discussions to the feelings of the team. Based on the environment of arguing, and the need for the team to get work done. Sometimes explaining how this argumentative environment is not conducive to other people on the team, will pull this person back some.
  • Attempt to negotiate some of their ideas, for some of the teams ideas. Sometimes giving in to a small demand or idea, can lead to a larger win with the team. Choose this one wisely.



What do you think?

Have you had, or if you had ‘The Pain in the Neck’ on your team what are some ways that you can keep them offering ideas and remaining engaged in the team process? 

This is content from ‘Quality Tools for Quality Teams’: Great Team Work happens on purpose. With a set of tools that people can be trained & coached to use. These tools allow all team members to do their best work in conjunction with the team. To learn more CONTACT MIKETeam Building Leadership Innovation expert Michael Cardus

michael cardus is create-learning

image by sabih.ahmed

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