Return to Odyssey of the Coach

Teamwork – Bossy and Hesitant Team Members

A team member with a strong personality can stifle your other team members’ creativity by insisting that his or her ideas must be used in the team’s solution. On the other hand, a hesitant team member may have very creative ideas but feel insecure about sharing them. As a coach, your challenge is to be sure the entire team understands that every team member is equally valuable to the group and the overall effectiveness of the team.

Both bossy and hesitant team members may benefit from the following:

  • Remind the team that every team member’s ideas are valid. Establish a team rule that there may be no laughing at others’ ideas and no negative comments. Decide as a team how violations of this rule should be handled.
  • In a non-verbal, hands-on spontaneous problem, select the quieter team member to answer for the team and require the bossy team member(s) to remain silent during the task.
  • Open a Word document and let team members submit ideas in writing (typing helps keep ideas anonymous). Print them and cut them into strips. Then have the team rank the ideas or assign points to them for creativity, feasibility, and other criteria. Make sure no one claims his or her idea – keep them anonymous.
  • Change the seating arrangement. This is especially useful if two or more team members sitting together are dominating the discussion.
  • Use verbal spontaneous problems where the team must respond one at a time, without passing when it is their turn. If one team member gets stuck, the whole team is stuck. Use a problem the team is trying to solve regarding a prop, costume, style element, or theme as the spontaneous challenge.
  • After completing a task, ask each person to state what went well and what went wrong. Start with the quieter team members so they are not tempted to simply agree with what someone else said.

Permanent link to this article: