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So I’m in a bit of a pickle.
I’ve become involved with a pretty fast paced group project. We’ve got 9 weeks to write up a mock PDR and all of the communication is done through Discord and teleconferences. As of last week an issue came up where one of the teammates (Black) felt accused by Red of being called authoritative and feels disrespected by the following message: “I don't know if I'm picking up on it correctly, but it feels like you want to control every situation. I feel like you're trying to take on a part of everyone's role so that you also need more people a part of each sub category. I think whatever happened is done whether we did turn it in late or not, I don't think we need to pressure others to do more that is needed. Also, Project Manager's dad passed. Not to make it an excuse, but I think it should be taken into consideration. Also, we didn't even verify all the positions til the meeting we had. So even still, we would have had to turn it in late since there were so many arrangements
If you don't trust your other members to do their job without having to be supervised, it can be counterintuitive to the whole teamwork aspect.” This message was sent after we missed a deadline to submit a team organization chart and Black team member insisted on becoming a third Assistant Project manager while making it seem as the other 2 APM’s were incompetent at their job.
Although I agree that it is difficult to communicate all of your emotions through written messages, I still think that taking your tone into consideration is crucial when working remotely. Am I wrong? Is there a better way to work with this team member? It’s still very early on in the project and this is the first time I’m working on a project with others with very little face to face communication. Typically when similar issues became present in other group projects, we would all sit down and discuss it and try to reach an agreement (or at least an understanding of where everyone is come from). Any advice is seriously appreciated.

Comments
  • 0
    I should mention, my biggest concern is the team communicating efficiently. When I spoke to the Red teammate, she understood how someone may interpret her message rudely even when that wasn’t her intent and apologized and promised to work on it. However when I brought this same idea up to Black teammate she insisted that she has no control over the way people interpret her messages and therefore she is not responsible for how they may react to it.
  • 4
    The "semi-finalist" shit SCREAMS "I don't know how to get people to listen to me so im gonna yell until im noticed or taken seriously"
  • 0
    @stingarray14 who's the RED teammate? Are you the BLUE one?
  • 1
    @netikras yes I am blue teammate. Red teammate is the one who agreed to work on communicating more effectively. Black teammate backed out of an administrative role early on insisting it was too much work to take on and has now declared that she wants to take part in 3 different roles instead.
  • 2
    I agree with you. And with the black one [in a way].

    One has little control on the reader's ability to understand the message the way it was meant to. The reader might be under stress, have issues at home, personal problems at the time of reading and the same message with a plain "YES." could be read either as an attempt to attack the reader [all caps, no explanation - is he yelling at me? Is he mad at me/annoyed by me?Wtf??] or just as a yes in caps, w/o any interpretations [as a calm, stable person would read].

    However, the writer can [and should] try his best to be dead clear about the meaning/intention of the message. No hidden messages, nothing between the lines. Keep in mind that messages can be misinterpreted and be ready to elaborate and explain what was the intention and meaning of the first msg in the clearest way possible.
  • 3
    At this point, if I were a figure of authority in that project, I'd try to get in touch with the black one in PMs and try to figure out what is her intention. Does she just want to help? Does she think she sees something others don't? It might be useful info. Does she feel like she's more fit for the mgmt role? Does she take that project personally? Or maybe she's just a bit off and tries to absorb it all for some reason even she doesn't know [think more like 'bipolar's obsessive stage'; that's bad and toxic, fix it asap]. Or maybe there's something else?

    People are more likely to be sincere in 1:1 comms. Authority figure she trusts might give her a feeling this conversation might change smth [assuming she wants the change].
  • 1
    @netikras those are really good questions, how would you recommend they get worded? I really want to be able to understand where this teammate is coming from and I didn’t get much when I originally reached out.
  • 3
    @stingarray14 the wording depends on the tone you have in the team. Is it a distant corporate tone? Or a close fam-like startup? Or smth in-between?

    Whatever you say, DO NOT attack her or raise any ultimatums. She might leave.

    I'd could be smth like:

    > Hi Amy! Got a minute to chat?
    < hi sure
    > cool. Look, there's this thing that's bugging me. You've seen that Sarah's message, haven't you? That wasn't very nice of her, I think we can agree on that :) I'm worried that this can grow into smth devastating to the whole team. None of us wants that, right? We should stick together. But I might need your help on this one.

    So I have also noticed you are in fact trying to expand your responsibilities. I'm worried about you, since quite often that leads devs to exhaution and burnouts. In other times, however, with the right help and attention of the right people that expanded curiosity ends up in something good for the dev, for tge team and for the project.

    That being said, would you mind me asking how comes you are always walking that extra mile outside your team's scope? Is there anything I could help you with? Is there something we have missed and should be doing differently? I'd really like to hear your insights. As I've already said, my highest interest is to make this team work like a tandem. I reckon we all want that, don't we? :)
    "

    but then again, I am not a manager. I do not know your team's tone nor do I know your cultural nuanses. Nor I know whether this wording would work best on women [no sexism intended, it would be naive to argue one suit fits on both genders]. My wording might be wrong. But I do know this would most definitely work on me!
  • 3
    @stingarray14 i'd put mtself as a party offering my assistance, as something who can pull strings to make things happen. And put projet's and team's success as the highest interest. After all it's the essence of all the organizations.

    That's why I'd need mgmt to do the talking. Someobe who is an authority, someone who has the power.
  • 1
    @netikras it’s pretty lax, we’re all uni students from different schools and we’re all just now getting to know each other, but I think that structure will work. I’ll be talking to the PM, thanks so much for the advice.
  • 1
    @netikras that was a good script. I enjoyed your character immensely.
  • 1
    @dr-ant seriously though, dude gave solid advice
  • 2
    @stingarray14 yeah he did.
    But it's the speed and the detailed conversation that amused me greatly. I could hear and see a female @netikras talking that with gestures and expressions. He threw in smileys at all the right places! 😄
    He's a writer.
    I feel like he can tell us more about Amy and Sarah than you can about Red and Black.
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