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Resolving problems on SP Teams

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Apparently we enjoy telling people off. It's a scientific fact!
However, being pleasant to people can also have benefits to both parties! Links below.

As in many things in life, there are right ways and wrong ways. In the last few months, on three separate teams I've seen evidence of this. In two instances the team leaders dealt with the issue firmly, effectively and positively; in the other a member, in the absence of the team leaders' response, took it upon him/herself to rebuke the offender in a public and destructive fashion.

Two of the instances revolved around SP's rules regarding advertising and salesmanship, which is sometimes a grey area, and the other around the rules of a challenge which were carefully spelled out to all members beforehand.

I think the team leaders' role was critical in the instances where there was a successful, non hurting outcome. They removed offending posts, circulated members with an explanation and/or reminder of the rules , contacted the individual concerned personally and kept their tone firm and businesslike; implicit in their actions and remarks was an understanding that we can all make mistakes (I forget to put my own brain into gear before doing things all too often!) and that enthusiasm can sometimes lead us astray.Using email also allowed the SP member involved the dignity of a private response.

There was nothing that could be described as "constructive criticism" in the third instance, just a direct order on the post to stop the activity. Another team member had to ask leaders to involve themselves but by the time one responded the offending member had withdrawn from the team and it has now lost her contributions which were considerable. There were no winners here.

My own views on this are to remember always that the written word can never be recovered, so be careful what and how you write, especially if your respondent might be hurt or sensitive to what you write. What might seem to you a quick and blunt reminder might be read as a personal attack. Always contact a leader if there is an apparent breach of SP rules and leave it to them to take appropriate action.
If you have formed a team or become a leader you must be aware of the responsibility, if you lose interest in it or withdraw from SP altogether, of thinking about the team's future; it takes little effort to resign as a leader or to have the team mothballed if no-one steps up to lead. An unmonitored team is a recipe for trouble, and the resultant harm to members is not what SP is about.

Of course, we must obey the rules of SP or the whole organisation will collapse into anarchy, and many of us need occasional reminders about them, but it is important to the community that those reminders don't become personal attacks or the means of relieving our own doubts and difficulties. We might get a kick from telling someone off but we can also get satisfaction from doing it in a non-judgmental "nice" fashion.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
LADYCALICO 2/27/2013 10:02AM

    This is a sweet post and agree it is the job of the team leaders or staff to deal with those who abuse their privileges. I don't see a misunderstanding of the team's rules as an abuse or worthy of a lashing, it is merely an innocent, harmless mistake. That being said, I must admit that I really hate seeing Sparkpeople misused by members as their own personal free sales medium or, much, much worse, free political propaganda space, as we saw so frequently during the fall election. That isn't a "mistake" that is just plain mean. Thank you.

Comment edited on: 2/27/2013 12:35:12 PM

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AMYTRIPP 2/24/2013 7:38PM

    Yep. I think the annonymity (sp) of posting online sometimes gives people the 'freedom' to act in a way they wouldn't to someone's face. I'm glad that two of the three times a problem was handled correctly.

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LJR4HEALTH 2/24/2013 7:07PM

    Penny a very good reminder - very well stated!

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MARJIMAC63 2/24/2013 11:30AM


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DR1939 2/24/2013 9:40AM

    Nicely said.

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KANOE10 2/24/2013 9:17AM

    Good reminder for people to treat others with respect and to deal with difficult issues privately. Great blog.

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SABLENESS 2/24/2013 6:32AM

    Wise words...

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NEW-CAZ 2/24/2013 2:43AM

    Excellent blog Poppy emoticon

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POSITIVEPAULA8 2/24/2013 1:05AM

    So True! Excellent Blog! emoticon emoticon

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MICKEYH 2/24/2013 12:47AM

    Everything in our life has a " cause and effect". We must be very careful and try not to hurts anyone by any means.

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LIBBYL1 2/23/2013 11:35PM

  I haven't seen these SP battles you have described.... but have in other forums. It is hard to "watch" the hurt and anger that can erupt so seemingly suddenly. Makes the observers (one's like me) withdraw sometimes as well and not only those directly involved...

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WENDYJM4 2/23/2013 8:46PM

    thanks Penny this is a great blog.

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THRIVEON 2/23/2013 8:23PM

    I dont envy teamleaders. They have to wear many hats. I like wearing one lol. This was a great blog. And its funny that you posted this because i was wondering if things like that took place here at sp. Where theres passion i guess theres Again, great job!

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PHEBESS 2/23/2013 8:11PM

    So true!

There are always diplomatic ways of dealing with issues - we all need to remember that. (I also have been known to jump in before thinking through what I want to say.)

Nice is good!!!

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SUNSHINEGB 2/23/2013 7:45PM

    This is a great blog Penny, thank you for writing and sharing it with us.
Gentle leadership of teams and gently put reminders of appropriateness on responses on teams is the best way to go!
Thank you!

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SUSIEPH1 2/23/2013 7:13PM

    Great Blog Penny.
Thank you for posting the links too ..
There are always some that want to buck the system, and there are gentle ways we can put into place to perhaps remind others of what is appropriate and what isn't ..
hugs Susie
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ARTJAC 2/23/2013 6:37PM

    well said penny i agree with all you said emoticon emoticon

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DEBBY4576 2/23/2013 6:34PM

    Life around people you know and meet in person can have some disagreements. I sure don't want to have a disagreement with people I have never met. Life is too short not to just act like a duck, and let it run off your back. I refuse to get drawn in to pettiness.

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SCHNOOTIE 2/23/2013 6:22PM

    What a good blog. I agree, we are too quick to use our keyboard without using our brains. Happens to all of us, but it is so important to remember that there are people on the other side of my screen that need support and have real feelings and that every post should be carefully thought out.

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