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Collaboration
Old 04-10-2019, 09:08 PM
 
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This is a vent and a question. We have team collaboration every week. One team member has a very strong personality and has ,in a way, established herself as lead. I will call her JP. She doesnít listen well to others questions or suggestions. She has no patience and is supper sarcastic or just plain mean. We have an official lead, but she differs to JP a lot. We have another member that is a whiner. Everything is too much for her. JP and her are not working well together at all. I am the new one, only on this team for 3 years. Mostly trying not to piss anyone off and get through uncomfortable meetings. JP makes the agenda for our meetings the night before and sends it email. No one gave her this job or agreed she should do it, she just started doing it. She runs the show, holds all the cards, but then acts put out that we donít ďbring anything to the tableĒ. I feel communication about what will be discussed or needed should be communicated sooner than the night before and we should all be in on it not just her. I am a very hard worker and I would love to be involved with them more, but it is toxic.
Here are the questions: If you collaborate do you all have a job? Do you discuss at the end of the meeting goals to accomplish before the next meeting? Do you have some ideas to help me make things better? Do I just continue to keep my mouth shut and my head down and have collaboration be a complete waste of time?


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Say something
Old 04-11-2019, 02:48 AM
 
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None of us have enough time as it is. I would say something to JP. If it were me, I would first think of some things that would be helpful to me to have on the agenda for the next meeting. I'd use that as an opening to approach JP and have a talk. I'd tell her that it would be helpful for me to add these items. I'd suggest all of the things you mentioned above that would be helpful... jobs during the meeting, making the agenda before we left, etc. I would stress that this would help me prepare for the next meeting so I could contribute more.

Let her know that you want to work together and that these things would be helpful to you. See where it goes from there. She may be thankful that you want to work together more. There is also the possibility that she is just a control freak and difficult, but I wonder if she hasn't gotten cooperation from the others in the past and if this hasn't manifested because someone needed to take control and get things done.
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:39 AM
 
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It sounds to me like your team needs to formally establish some agreed upon group norms. That could include everyone having a specific role/job for the meetings, or rotating responsibilities. It could also address when/how goals are set, the purpose of your collaboration time, confidentiality/respectfulness/, consensus or majority decisions, etc.

Solution Tree has good resources to support PLC work and I have seen information from them on processes for establishing group norms that are really helpful. Among them - most teams think group norms mean things like "don't play on your phone during meetings", but really norms should be addressing the types of questions you have.

I don't know when your school year ends, but where we are there isn't a whole lot of time left, so I'd probably bring up the idea now/soon with a plan to actually try to make the group norms discussion happen at the beginning of next year. Possibly like, "I came across this article and thought it was interesting and might help us in our collaboration. What if we..."
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:09 AM
 
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JP holds the cards because the rest of the team allowed it. The lead doesn't lead. The whiner doesn't stand up for herself. You are meek and accommodating in the meetings.

The first time JP decided to send an agenda and no one discussed her taking this action and how you can all contribute, JP was given the green light. JP may also feel that she is the only one pulling the cart since there is no-lead leader, whiner, and you, who avoids confrontation in the meetings just to get through.

A person without authority can't be the lead unless everyone allows it.

So, how does a dysfunctional team become functional? It takes someone willing to stand up and say that things could be better and everyone must have a purpose on the team. WGReading has a good suggestion of resources to use.

I say, fix it. But do it with the attitude that everyone is important to the team and the meeting is important for the students success.
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Collaboration
Old 04-11-2019, 07:14 AM
 
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I was going to give you a long answer but msd2 said it better.

And, I have been in JPs position....no one wanted to step up, no one wanted to contribute unless they were complaining, but the work had to get done. Itís IS possible JP is looking for help.


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Old 04-11-2019, 07:17 PM
 
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We have a weekly team meeting. My sped department considers the school psych to be the team leader. The thing is, she hates that and has no interest in being the leader. It took us a couple of years to figure out that our team just functioned better if we ignored titles and didn't treat anyone like "the leader."

We have a running google doc for team notes. Our sections are: caseload, discussion, scheduling, and to-dos. Anyone can add notes on throughout the week. So if something happens with a student that I want to talk about, I go ahead and put something about that under the "caseload" list. If there is another topic you want to talk about, you just add it under "discussions." Especially when I was newer to the school/team, as a shy person this helped me a lot. I could add things to the notes ahead of time so that I could think about what I would say, and there was clear place for me to talk/bring them up in the meeting rather than feeling like I had to just "jump in."

For awhile, we tried to rotate roles such as note taker, facilitator, etc. Over time we just realized where people's natural strengths are and have defaulted to ours. I'm really good at notes and it was painful to watch other people struggle through it, so now I always do those. The same person always facilitates. If you put something on the agenda, when that item comes up, it's obviously your place to talk about it.
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Thank you
Old 04-11-2019, 08:31 PM
 
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Thanks for your nice suggestions and for not attacking me like and calling me names like a few did.
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Old 04-12-2019, 04:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Thanks for your nice suggestions and for not attacking me like and calling me names like a few did.
I read this whole thread and every post is supportive and helpful. Where's the name calling?
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Old 04-12-2019, 05:58 AM
 
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OP, I am sorry you were offended by my comments if it was my post that offended you. It certainly wasn't my intention.
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Old 04-12-2019, 05:38 PM
 
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I agree with all thatís been said above. And like Keltikmom mentioned, Iíve also been in JPís position. At my school, we are required to meet as a team everyday. My previous team we were literally meeting just to meet, and nothing got done. If I didnít step up and do things, it didnít get done by the deadline- and I canít handle that :P


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