Team work – How to work well with others

Below are the Q-A sessions in Rediff chat answered by Amit Bansal, the founder and CEO of PurpleLeap.

Ekta1 asked, hi Amit, In a team if there is no defined leader then how one shd get guidance.
Amit Bansal answers, Allow situational leadership and everyone can learn from everybody. When it comes to guidance, it can be taken from the management and sometimes it’s a good idea to explore in absence of clear leadership.

Ashwin asked, How do you deal with a difficult employee?If there is someone in the team who is not ready to take feedback in a correct way and believes that the manager is trying to pick up on him,how do you handle such employees.Also what if they give excuses like lack of training for their average performances,how do you deal with them?
Amit Bansal answers, Try with positive strokes than negative feedback. Allow the individual to trust you that you are a friend and not a person who is always finding faults. Gradually you can start giving constructive feedback when an individual is comfortable to take feedback from you.

archna asked, sometimes I feel myself as unwanted among the team/how to handle that/
Amit Bansal answers, It’s a mindset, not true in most cases. Please engage yourself in more productive activities.

sagar asked, hi. amit, am leading a team of 8. all the eight are from different back ground, different culture and different skill. Finding hard to get best out of them. Is there any solution?
Amit Bansal answers, Identify the individual competencies of each individual in your team and them align their competencies to the team goals and create a healthy competitive and non threatening environment in the team.

Subrat asked, Are there any specific guidelines or strategies for a team work? There are so many theories and examples on it but in actual paractice, it does not many a times work
Amit Bansal answers, Each team is dynamic. One strategy may not fit all kinds of teams. It’s important to first understand the dynamics of your team and allow the stages of team development to happen in a natural way. Be a guide and increase trust among the team members. When team members do not have threat from each other it becomes easier for them to perform and work together.

devtw asked, Hi Amit,please suggest how to handle conflict of interest between a senior veteran resource and a new appointed senior resource as a backup to avoid dependency on veteran resource
Amit Bansal answers, Allow the veteran to be a mentor and create the next line of command and reduce dependency on him/ her. The veteran gets a more challenging task which fits his/ her experience and the dependency on him/ her reduces in the process.

vedpr asked, hi i m Ved…i m handling a tam of 5 ASM’S & 5 SM’S..Isupport them alot and alws stand in btwn thm and my seniors to save thm bt still sometimes it happens tht they r not able to acheive there desired target & du2 that i face probs with my seniors 7 many of my sub ordinates left the team & i have to start fresh i can overcome this issues..?
Amit Bansal answers, A team need to be self directed and protected. Maybe supporting team members in all occasions is not a good idea. Specially when it comes to targets. Best way is to establish responsibilities and relate benefits and consequences to these responsibilities. Being tough is equally important as being protective.

dash asked, what are the basis points to build a good Team?How we will encourage a demotivated person?
Amit Bansal answers, Give him/ her more responsibilities and spend time to motivate them. People who generally feel demotivated may not be convinced about the end result of putting efforts in a particular activity. It’s a good idea show them the road ahead.

sanket asked, Hi amit. I am leading a team of 10 scientists at a MNC in bangalore. There is a person in my team who was wying for my post but i ended up getting the Job. She has the same experience as me and she is obviously pissed about this She also influences some people in the team and this has given me a low score in the PEOPLES OPINION SURVEY we had in our company. how do i handle this???
Amit Bansal answers, You must spend time talking to your team, as a group and individually. I think such things are a matter of time and with additional work, appropriate appreciation and association can be sorted out. Give it a little time.

Priyaranjan asked, Hi Amit,i am heading operation in a pvt. org. in operation you have always issues and u try to smoothen those. but still field team, colegues in other dept. trys to put problem at your head. how to react/mange these situations?
Amit Bansal answers, Separate people from situations. Most often we try to manage people rather than situations and when we attempt to solve problems this way we end up judging people and their decision making abilities. It’s an unnecessary trap.

Name asked, Hi, is this always true that “Leader / Manager of the team is always Right”?
Amit Bansal answers, Not really. A leader can be wrong too.

Suresh asked, Hi, I am sincere, hard working and positive. I try to be very practical at all times, but my sub ordinates seem to take advantage of my soft nature and dont take me seriously. How do I get them to listen to me and yet be a little pally with them? Please help.
Amit Bansal answers, You must let others know you as a task master. Create deadlines and do what you want others to do as well. Once you set examples people will take you seriously. Follow up and ensure people know about the benefits and consequences of completing or not completing a particular task.

Amit Bansal answers, Best is to separate people from situations. Once you do that, you will be able to look at problems with clarity and disassociate people and your mindsets about them.

shirol asked, hi amit, it is routine in my career that after some time for say 6 months I starts loosing interest as well my productivity coming down. More over boss starts showing ugly face. How to over come. suggest me good book or idea please
Amit Bansal answers, It’s quiet possible for work to become monotonous after a while. Six months is a very short duration to feel that way though. Maybe you are a person who is creative and always need action at workplace. Look for new areas to explore. Go beyond your regular KRAs and do something new. Attempting anything new not for getting credit but to keep your work environment challenging and action oriented.

Nirakar _dash123 asked, Hi I am career oriented and hardworking person . I tried to give my best in my work place , but I had always probelm with my seniors . How can I overcome this problem . Always I missunderstood by my manager/Lead. I am a very much straight forward person . In meeting I used to speek directly to mnager if i found there is something wrong . And alo How can I work with my USA manager . I am very poor is buttering
Amit Bansal answers, Different people have different styles of communicating. Probably your style of communication which you have mentioned as ‘straight forward’ is not looked at positive. Maybe it’s looked at as arrogant and rude. It’s a good idea to ask for feedback rather than assuming that one size fits all. There are people who may not have a problem with a particular style of communication however many others may not be very comfortable. Best way to deal with misunderstanding is to ask for feedback.

vinc asked, How good a idea is to conduct psychometric tests on candidates?
Amit Bansal answers, Yes it is. In fact a lot of organizations are now resorting to psychometric tests as a part of selection procedure and even appraisals.

sen asked, I have 8 years of experience. Now I want to get into Team Lead role. How can I grow my people management skills?
Amit Bansal answers, The first thing you need to analyse is the area which you want to improve. People management includes a range of things like, working in teams, negotiating, agreeing or disagreeing, getting things done from others etc. Which area would you like to work on?

sanjay1960 asked, i am a soft skill trainer , how i can sharpen team building skills.
Amit Bansal answers, The best way to sharpen your skills is to practice them. Put yourself in a team set up and observe yourself.

Nitesh asked, Hi I am working for a company and wants to know weather it is good to share each and every details with your manager on work part or you should keep some part of it with your self.
Amit Bansal answers, You should share information keeping the end in mind. If your information is adding value to an existing project, raising a red flag on an issue or create awareness about a project you want to initiate probably it’s a good idea to share it. But sharing ideas or information which does not have any immediate relevance will just confuse people. So whenever you want to share a particular detail with your colleagues, ask yourself how is this going to impact any official work, if there is no specific response to this question then maybe you want to wait.

srinath asked, yes as they always have diffrence i wonder how to sought that could you guide me
Amit Bansal answers, Differences between team members is a normal behavior. It’s a part of the storming phase where people adjust to each other’s style of work. Ideally to make this effective each individual should be given specific responsibilities to make them comfortable about their domain of expertise. At the same time interdependence among team members should be increased to ensure collective responsibility is practiced in the team. You can also do team building activities to increase trust within the team members. Once they trust each other and do not look at each other as a threat, better work environment is created.

srinath asked, Hi Amit i am leading a team of three and i want to know about improvemnt in the working activities of my subordinates
Amit Bansal answers, Is there a specific problem you are dealing with? What would you like to improve?


Team Communication Strategies

What is a team without coordination… and how can team members coordinate without a team leader? A team leader is a person who leads the team while giving each and every team member the right to be a leader in them. He not only possesses good leadership and guidance skills, but is also a good communicator. In the words of James Humes, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” If the team has an effective leader who can communicate the goals and objectives of the team with the goals and objectives of the individual members through effective two way communication, then there is nothing that can stop the team from succeeding in achieving its goals. So what are some effective strategies for fostering good team communication? The next section discusses all this and more…

Effective Team Communication Strategies

So, what are some effective strategies that you can adopt in your team in order to achieve your set goals? When working as a team, remember that you are dealing with different individuals with different styles of working and understanding. What may seem right to one team member may seem to be inappropriate to another team member. Another point to be noted is that to work together as a ‘team’ it is important to meet deadlines and work with complete focus and coordination because each and every task is related to the overall goal achievement. Communication comes into play when each and every member must be conveyed their task, their point of contact and the deadline to finish their individual task so that they can be united for the complete functioning of the team. Many a time, lack of communication, or rather the ‘assumption’ those things have been communicated and perceived in the right manner when they actually are not, can create a lot of chaos and unnecessary delays in the team. For this, implementing certain team communication strategies is a must. These are discussed as under.

Use Reliable Channels of Communication
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Communication is a two way process. Only passing the information is not enough, you need to make sure that the information you have passed is also understood in the same way as you intended. The human mind can perceive the same thing in different ways. So keep the languages simple leaving no room for misinterpretations and use appropriate channels to communicate the information and receive relevant feedback. An example for the same would be this. To communicate change in strategies or deadline dates, you can send out a notice on the internal network files which are easily accessed by everyone in your team. You can also hold a meeting for the same to make sure that everyone is aware of the changes and has understood the changes that need to be brought in the team working strategy. It is important to hold face to face meeting with the team members at least twice a week to make sure that everything necessary has been communicated and understood.

A Team has No ‘I’, it Has Only ‘We’
The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” ~ Vincent Lombardi
Yes, it is the combination of individual efforts of each and every team member that contributes to the overall success of the team in all. Therefore, it is always important to communicate in terms of ‘we’ and not ‘I’. This is because the way you communicate also influences the minds of the team members. Addressing concerns and important notices as a ‘team’ and not as a group of individuals is an approach that should always be followed to remind team members that no one is differently valued than others and that everyone is ‘equally’ a part of the success of the team.

Welcome Feedback and Suggestions
Teams do not go physically flat, they go mentally stale.” ~ Vincent Lombardi
Each and every person in the team is undoubtedly good at his or her work and that is the reason why they are there, right? Many times, in the monotony of following the leader and doing what is asked to be done, mentally stales the individual spark that can actually contribute to a remarkable idea that can add on to the success of the team. Which is why, another effective team communication strategy would be to give each and every team member a chance to voice their feedback and suggestions at any point of time. For this purpose, feedback forms and suggestion boxes should be introduced and someone should be appointed to analyze them periodically.

Everyone Gets to Participate
Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” ~ Stephen Covey
… and a successful team is the one that can tap all these differences and unite them together to achieve a similar objective. For this, active and equal participation of each and every team member is a must. The fact that each and every person has a different perception can create problems at times, but it can also be a plus point. Total participation can lead to identification of a certain approach by one team member which wasn’t identifiable by others. Not only does this approach pave way for new advances, it also brings in a sense of belonging and importance among the team members, which definitely helps in improved unity, coordination and effective team work.

Appreciate Openly but Criticize Alone
communicating with the team members in terms of appreciation or criticism should also be done in the right manner. Always remember the key rule, ‘appreciate openly, but criticize when alone‘. Remember, every individual has other aspects of life that he or she is dealing with, which could intentionally or unintentionally, affect their performance on the professional front. Therefore, when it comes to appreciation, praise the contribution of the team member (also acknowledging the contribution of each and every team member) out in the open. Although, when it comes to criticism, make sure that instead of blaming the ‘one person’ out in the open, hold an individual meeting and try to understand the underlying causes. Be a good listener and offer help if possible. Because the contribution of each and every team member counts, make sure that frequent meetings or informal outings are held so that the team members are opened and comfortable enough to share their goals, both professional and personal. This helps in stronger bonding and better understanding, both of which are important for stronger team building.


Team work – How to work well with others

Topic: Team work – How to work well with others

Below are the Q-A sessions in Rediff chat answered by Amit Bansal, the founder and CEO of PurpleLeap.


Rajashekhar asked, sir i am working as chief librarian in engineering college i m facing lot lots of problem in working with my library team members. what should i do. if i give a task for them they never do it in time,
Amit bansal answers, Try and be more assertiveabout your expectations

DJ asked, how to handle if two of my team member hate each others job and dont think good about each other. Both are senior team member. please advise.
Amit bansal answers, Get them to communicate with each other in a constructive way. you can assume the role of a mediator.

rajendran asked,  Hi how to take contol of my team…how i can motivate them.?
Amit bansal answers, The key word here is not “control”, it is “manage”. any attempts at control will be resnted by the team. Two way communication and coordination must be encouraged.

vinay asked, we are two persons in same position and we have many lower people whom we assign jobs. my same level friend goes to the boss daily morning and reports that the persons currently working under me are passing time in canteen rest room etc. how to handle tis situation
Amit bansal answers, You need to keep in tough with your boss on a daily basis as well.

kawal asked, I cannot go along with my team as i feel they do not respect otherwise and familiarity breeds contempt. They start calling you with your name and sometimes takes things casually. what is to be done in that case???
Amit bansal answers, It is important to bong with the team. It is ok if they call you by your first name. Just dont incourage any personal conversations.

krish asked, Hi Amit am working in IT and my manager doesnt know what work we are doing becoz all of them comes from onshore directly to us but he keep on torturing us for different things like taking leaves coming to office late becoz we need to stay late and doesnt understand our to handle him anyway he needs to do our appraisal and is so weird…
Amit bansal answers, Fix up a meeting with him and explain the complexities of your job. else, during the time of future goal setting, explain the limitations you face.

Aditi asked, Hi Amit, there are times when team work is best, but there are also times when it is better to do the work alone. how can i convince my team that i would like to take more responsibilty and complete a task alone?
Amit bansal answers, You could request doing a certain task and once it is done, share it with the team and ask for their inputs.

rajbir asked, my boss is also my friend and in the eye of other he behave particular with me in totally different and not give proprer response
Amit bansal answers, He is probably very concsious of your friendship and wants to seperate the personal from the professional. try and understand.

Peter asked,  i am working in my office for last 2 years.recently one person has joined in my department as team leader whoose experience is same as mine.when i come to know about that fact i am getting very angry when my new team leader instruct me something. how can i overcome this situation.
Amit bansal answers, I can understand your situation. If you want to continue being part of this team, you could try speaking to HR about your problem.

Speedy asked, Okay. The question is regarding a team work. Not office. I have my own biker’s club with 13 members. Every one has their own say and way to do things. how to keep them tagged in. please tell.
Amit bansal answers, that is the main advantage of teams. you have the benefits of so many ideas. Just develop a system that takes into account all viable ideas and solutions

andy asked, Hi, My main boss seats in Delhi. Since he joined he never spoke to me , I am in touch with my immediate boss. let us know how to get in touch with him.
Amit bansal answers, sorry, forgot to tell you to keep your immediate boss in the loop.

andy asked, Hi, My main boss seats in Delhi. Since he joined he never spoke to me , I am in touch with my immediate boss. let us know how to get in touch with him.
Amit bansal answers, Get in touch over email and fix up a meeting to introduce yourself on the phone or face to face.

ankit asked, I work in a PSU, and team members are generally not encouraged to work. How to ensure project performance
Amit bansal answers, Just do your best and it will be recognised in the long term.

udh asked, Hi Amit, am a very good performer, sincere and very passionate person but have been having regular problems in people management, is there any course that I can attend to understand what exactly are the issues in my personality? Thanks
Amit bansal answers, Really appreciate the fact that you recognize that you have a problem. you could go in for a well recommended course in personality development

Mnaoj Agarwal asked, How to handle the team of freshers
Amit bansal answers, Young people are full of new ideas. Encourage this. On the other hand, also tactfully explain that not all ideas are implementable in the real world.

Supriya asked, Hi Amit, it has been some months since i’ve joined this organization where i currently work. The sense of humour of these people is not something i understand. Is it better to shut up and sit in such cases or do you think it is necessary to make an effort to understand the stupid jokes and even if we don’t get it laugh at it, just to give others company?
Amit bansal answers, Just relax and be yourself. You will slowly gel with the culture.

Somesh asked, Hi Amit, how would you define an ideal work relationship?
Amit bansal answers, Sharing of ideas, expressiong negative and positive thoughts freely and a combined focus on organizationsl goals.

arun asked, Now a days team work is the in thing. how to handle people with individual goals?
Amit bansal answers, In every team, each member has individual goals.

imran asked, Dear sir, i report to my bos as well as plant manager, in this case i feel pushing from two side, what i do?
Amit bansal answers, This is a problem faced by most modern organizations that have matrix reporting structures. you have to face the situation with tact.

KAUSTUBH asked, How to motivate a delpeted team
Amit bansal answers, Find out the reasons for the situation and then make amends

stan asked, Thanks Amit for you response,its really worth.However,there are lots of Yes Men’s in orgnizations and i coparate i guess yes-mens work & done good for themselves…how can we deal with yes mens , in a situation when you know your decision is right but you are overided by a yesmen.
Amit bansal answers, Remember that a team has to perform. If the yes men do not help the team achive its objectives, they will only succeed in the short term.

suchetha asked, Do you think it is okay for the boss to call you after office hours? for me, it get’s irritating because once you’ve reached home, you want to spend time with your family. how can i communicate this to the boss. I’ve tried not answering calls previously, but this results in only having a bad start the next day.
Amit bansal answers, This is a tricky situation. Take the calls and try and keep them short.

rocky asked, If two of team member doesnot allow new one to grow in team, by not providing sufficient information, what one can do
Amit bansal answers, Spaek to the team leader and explain the situation

Kamal asked, Sir How to increase communication amongst team members
Amit bansal answers, Encourage an open atmosphere. Any idea ot thought, however ridiculous it may seem, must be encouraged. ask HR to organise regular team bulding activities

ab asked, I am working in IT dept and in a team having 10 members. The basic problem in the team is the ego problem among some of the members as they think that they are having better knowledge than others. pls give some suggestions and ideas to improve team moral and bondings.
Amit bansal answers, Go for some offsites to outdoor locations and organize some team buliding activities. this might help the members understand each other better

Manu asked, Sir if one wants to concentrate on his work and avoids gossiping and socalizing after work like alcohol,cards etc. Can he still be popular and respected
Amit bansal answers, As long as you do not judge other people for their habits, they will respect your need to be different

anil asked, hi Amit sir how to cope up with the seniors employees working to lower grade and reports to the juniors into the marketing and sales profession
Amit bansal answers, Give the senoirs the due respect for their experience.

Ali asked, Hi Amit, I’ve just started on my first job a month back. I’m still getting to know people at work and sometimes it get’s overwhelming meeting people with so many years experience. How can i not look like a shy newcomer but look confident when I come across when i speak to my colleagues?
Amit bansal answers, Just be yourself. Once you get more familiar, you will get more comfortable. Its just a matter of time.

Shikher asked, Hi Amit, I am currently on bench since the project got over ! I will be allocated to a new project which of course will be having its own team. How easily can i gel with the entire team considering that i will be the manager for the team?
Amit bansal answers, Lead by exmaple. Help the team members get to know each other and understand their specific roles and the relationships of these roles with one another. also help them set individual goals.

Sudeep asked, sir, there is this one person in office, whom I can’t stand, but unfortunately he stays very close to where i do and so we often end up travelling in the same bus to office. Do you have any tips on how I can be cordial to this person, without going over the top?
Amit bansal answers, Have patience.

MPS asked, iam disliked by team,how to handle
Amit bansal answers, You need to understand the reasons from one of your teammates. Thereafter, you may need to make some changes in your approach

rkdash asked, some of the employees are there who wants to show their suprimacy inevery to handel them?
Amit bansal answers, Ignore them and do your own job well

solo asked, Pl. guide, if some one can do well as a solo player, why should he go for team work. Weak people, who do not feel complete in themselves, prefer team work, so that their weaknesses dont show.Pl. advise
Amit bansal answers, Most organizations today believe in teamwork. They feel the best results come out of a lot of brains pooling ideas. If you have good thoughts andideas, you will shine in teams or individual situations

kapil asked,  Dear Amit, There is a girl in my team. Almost all team members of my team have crush on her, which is causing problem amont them and I dont find that they will be able to work in team anymore. I also dont want to loose any of them as they were selected by me only and are very good in their respective job. Pl tell how can i handle the situation without loosing any of my team member
Amit bansal answers, Without mentioning the issue directly, ask the team members to leave personal issues behind and concentrate on work.

Shravan asked, Sir, in most organizations there would be some sort of partiality and nepotism going on. Is there any way to stay out of such politics and still excel in what we do?
Amit bansal answers, If you excel at what you do, you never need to use nepotism as a crutch. ignore it.

Anuj asked, Amit, is it necessary to make a get-together with all teammates for every 2 weeks or month?
Amit bansal answers, Sure. helps the team to bond.

AETHIST asked, how to cope up with rude manager
Amit bansal answers, If you are good at your job, there is no reason to be afraid. Dont be rude but respond assertively.

Amol asked, my performance is exceptional. I am into sales & marketing. When i interact with my colleagues natural arrogance & agression comes because of performance. Its creating lot of office politics and collision. What do i do
Amit bansal answers, Since you recognize the problem, half the battle is won. Make a sincere attempt to tone down. there is no other way.

Hari asked, Sir, my team consists of 5 people, 3 of them are from Kerala and they go on and on in their native language. I’m from Bihar and don’t understand what they are saying and often get irritated. How can I ask them to speak in English without sounding offensive or defensive?
Amit bansal answers, Explain your problem in a polite way and request their cooperation. They may not realise the discomfirt it is causing you.

raj asked, How to combat ego at work place
Amit bansal answers, Ego is the cause of almost all problems in interpersonal relationships. You just have to use tact.

stan asked, Hello Sir, I have a boss who is sugar coated tonque at the front but back he is always talk negative me & my team ,how to deal with these type of bosses
Amit bansal answers, Schedule a one to one meeting with him and ask him politely if he has any suggestions for improvement in the teams performance.

alndora asked, I am unable to talk fluently in a group, what I should do
Amit bansal answers, Just remember that everyone welcomes a good idea. Dont hesitate to put across your thoughts. You will be surprised to know a lot of your teammates might have the same problem as you.

Shom asked, Hi sir Please tell me how how individual performance can be known of a team?
Amit bansal answers, People who work well in teams are always recognised. Just be consistent and you will shine

Arati asked, Amit, This is my second job and most of my colleagues team up and meet after office hours. They have so formed a bond. I’m unable to go out with them often and so feel like an odd man out. do you think, I should make the extra effort and go out with them to have a good team relationship in office?
Amit bansal answers, Depends upon your reasons for not going out with them. If you find it inconvenient, dont go out each time, but you could probably make the effort to go once in a while. People understand if you explain.

red asked, but sir how to escape frm office politics and how to lead frm the fellow colleagues
Amit bansal answers, Just avoid getting involved in any personal discussions or gossip. Even listening to gossip can get you into trouble.

suraj asked, Hi Amit, How important is it to blend in with your colleagues. Is it better to keep a distance between your personal and professional life?
Amit bansal answers, Collegues can definitely be your friends. It is not advisable to discuss personal issues at the workplace, though.

red asked, Sir, tell me sir, how to shine in the new job??
Amit bansal answers, Watch for a few days. Understand the culture and the work thoroughly. Then start performing in order to exceed expectations.


Rediff Chat Date: July 20, 2011