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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Disgruntled Teammate

Do you have a disgruntled member on your family, organization, school, class, or neighborhood team?

How does that individual display his/her frustration, anger, or discomfort?

How do you respond to that disgruntled individual?

Many years ago, I had a disgruntled student in my class. I knew he was disgruntled from observations I made before the child was in my class. When the child first walked into my classroom, I made a decision that I wasn't going to argue with this child, but instead I would try anything I could to make the class meaningful and welcoming to him. I was successful in part. I did what I could and made all kinds of accommodations, special paths, and ways to engage the child. Others did their part too. We made some progress together.

We didn't make things worse by labeling, punishing, and distancing the child.

At one time when a parent became disgruntled, I took a similar approach. Rather than finding fault in the parent's frustration as I might have done in the past, I made an effort to understand what was the matter. It was difficult to untangle and I had to call upon the help of colleagues. Again, though complex, we were able to understand the issue in part and make change to better accommodate the parent and child. It was worth the effort.

It's best to make the time upfront to get underneath the disgruntled individual, and find out what's making him/her disgruntled, and then, if possible, help to untangle his/her situation if you have what's needed.

Many are quick to judge another who is disgruntled, rather than make the time to enlist that individual in the process of engagement and empowerment.

As teammates, we have a responsibility to bring our best demeanor, effort, and care to the team, but at times any one of us might get disgruntled, and hopefully we'll have teammates that care enough to help us through the challenge.

It just may be that each time we help a disgruntled student, friend, family member, or colleague, we all may learn something that matters, and something that forwards our team towards better work, endeavor, and collaboration.