A problem successfully addressed


In the middle of the Greek economic crisis, in the organization we face tremendous collaboration problems as a team. Mario, the newcomer, lacks basic teamwork skills and I have decided to raise the issue. I call for a meeting all the stakeholders; the teammate and the supervisor. We enter the room and I start talking. I try to articulate the problem trying to choose my words carefully. My supervisor does not understand the situation and he asks me to describe what is going on. My words do not come out easily because I feel anxiety. But at the same time I am disappointed that half of the team makes all the effort and delivers the projects. I am tired. I propose to expand the meeting with the HR director and the Network Operations leader.

“Let’s invite them to our discussion. Who knows, they may understand better and help us with their ideas and their experience”, I say. My boss loses his temper.

“No, no. Do not push it. It won’t help you to involve the HR because you will send them the wrong message. The management doesn’t want to know that you are in a bad relationship with the rest of your team!” he replies.

“Don’t worry Alex. I trust my superiors and I ask for help when I need assistance. It seems that we have reached a dead end in our discussion”.

“No, I think that we can solve the issue as a team. What is the problem between you and Mario?” he insists while holding a pen tightly in a vertical position and marking blue inked spots in the middle of a blank page.

I decide to show him what is wrong about Mario. I say “Ok, look. He is sitting on the chair like this but he’s not looking at the team. Instead, he turns his back to his teammate and he starts to chit chat with the outsiders. He talks about cars, drones, music events, arts and so on”.

Mario stares at the top of the table with his fingers crossed. Alex listens with left hand on his chin. I continue “And guess what! In the middle of the team area stays our daily work like a pile of dirty clothes waiting for someone to send them at the laundry! He seems airy and aloof!” I say with rosy cheeks and my eyes fully open. I roll my chair a little towards the wall behind me. I spin around until the back of the chair touches the desk. I lay back and I open my hands as if I am about speak to an audience. I bend to the left, then to the right showing that I am handling multidirectional open issues. Then I add while starring to the wall:

“He is like this and when I call him for help he stops what he’s doing for a while”.

I turn to the right my chair until I see their faces again and I touch the table with my fingers like a pianist playing a Mozart song.

“He returns like this, and he tries to catch up within minutes with all the open tasks, asking outdated questions and blundering all the time. This is irritating!”

We end the meeting with the promise that Alex will escalate the problem to his boss, Manolis. I feel a great relief because I realize that now everyone knows. My work is done and I am satisfied about it. A week later, I receive a written notification by the managers saying that they try to find a win-win solution to the issue. Three weeks later, Mario is moved to the field maintenance crew and the management covers the empty position with an internal transition. Both Alex and his boss bring Jim to form a team with Athan. Jim holds an international MBA degree.

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