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Eight Strategies for Handling Disruptive Situations

Eight Strategies for Handling Disruptive Situations

Leaders will often be called upon to play the role of facilitator in a team environment. Leaders must manage and direct team meetings and discussions to ensure that ideas flow freely among the members.

Leaders deal with individuals who have their own agendas, bias, and perspectives. Leaders can often transform these people into a cohesive team. One or more of these members may be resolutely opposed to the team’s work. They may be against the goals of the group, or they might feel threatened by it. These individuals can cause disruption to the team’s functioning, which can frustrate leaders as well as members.

Leaders need to understand that when people are allowed to express themselves and share their opinions, they can work against the leader as well as the progress of the group. These people can be devious and openly hostile, so it is essential that leaders acknowledge their behavior. There are steps leaders can take to deal with these people or to motivate their team to do the same.

Leaders should be aware of the possibility that a member’s behavior could disrupt group discussions due to the nature and dynamics of group dynamics.

Anticipate and Prevent

Most problems can be avoided and prevented when people work together in effective teams. As members get to know one another, they establish ground rules and agree to group behavior.

Group Problem

Many problems are caused by the actions of individual team members. Each issue should be examined by leaders in the light of what their team allows or encourages and what they can do to foster more constructive behavior.

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Control reactions

There are many behaviors that can be displayed by teams. Some minor incidents don’t hinder team progress and discussion, while others are disruptive and chronic.

Leaders need to be able to recognize the severity of the problem and respond accordingly. They must not ignore temporary disruptions but confront persistent or seriously disruptive behavior. Facilitators who are experienced in leading can offer a variety of solutions to common problems.


Sometimes leaders don’t need to intervene. Individual team members can handle the problem. Leaders should be available to direct and guide discussions when members confront one another.

Minimal intervention

Leaders may discuss the situation with members of disruptive teams outside of the group. It is important to give constructive feedback and find solutions.

Time for a group that is more personal

Leaders may discuss the problem with their entire team before their meeting. This will allow them to concentrate their attention on the ways they encourage and discourage the problem. It is essential to treat the problem as a group issue and avoid discussing personalities or personality issues.

Personal Confrontation

Leaders must be more assertive when dealing with team members who are exhibiting unacceptable behavior. Leaders can take direct action to correct the situation.

Group Intervention

Leaders may have to confront offending behavior in front of their team members as a last resort after all other options have failed. They may expose the offending behavior to the team for open criticism.

This technique should be used sparingly. Leaders must anticipate reactions and respond appropriately to minimize hostility from offending teammates.

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