This week, I attended two weeks of lectures on the Maximizing IS/IT Team Effectiveness course at Villanova University. This was challenging considering my day job. This was my week off.
This week it was all about managing teams in a positive way. We also discussed how to manage resistance. The lecturer explained it like this:
If you tell someone the exact same thing three times, it is not ignorance.
She said that managers who are not educated can ‘teach their way out’ of a problem. We need another set of eyes to deal with resistance from members of the project team.
How to deal with resistance
Resistance is when a member of a team is not on the same page.
Believes that change is impossible. This could be because the project team believes they are incapable or won’t accept change.
Does not believe the project vision is worthwhile.
Does not feel that the project is in alignment with their personal values.
Participation is not necessary.
Does not know what to do next or how to contribute to the project’s success.
Does not believe he/she has the qualifications to join the team.

What can you do?
First, identify the reason for resistance. Ask questions – All of these start with asking questions. Lou Russell, who is speaking on the small screen I am viewing the lectures, says, “Seek first, to understand.” She offers several ways to deal with resistance of different types, including:
If they are not required for the project, you can transfer them to meaningful work.
If they are needed, convince them that they are important and have a valuable role.
Provide stretch goals.
Assist individuals with understanding the three tasks ahead. This will help them to know what they should do next. If necessary, help them to prioritize.
Find out the values of your team member. What would it take for the team member to feel valued?

Assigning people tasks
We also discussed factors that influence the assignment of project tasks to people. Match the task to your person. A team that matches well will be more productive and efficient.
Russell covered 4 points
Diverse skills are better than one-to-one tasks. Spread them. Each person should have a variety.
Task identity: Make sure that the task is clearly identified, measurable, and realizable. Make sure that the person understands what they need.
Task importance: Make sure that the task is relevant to your project. Contributions should be important to the overall success and viability of the project.
Feedback: Individuals should receive constructive and developmental feedback. Regular feedback is essential.
We also covered giving feedback effectively, listening and facilitation skills and managing collaboration. This week, there was also a second exam. I have not yet received my grade so I won’t share it here.