As a team leader and manager I have a constant struggle with strong headed individualities. I deffinatly want them to be individuals but I need them to be a team. how do you strike this balance?
This is a great question. Below are some suggestions:
1. Be sure to have structured meetings with ground rules. The rules can state in advance that there is no criticizing of ideas or speaking out of turn, etc. It is easier to correct the behavior of strong team members when the rules are publically stated and consistently applied.
2. A round-robin approach to making comments, as opposed to letting people raise their hands or speak freely is a way to ensure that everybody gets to provide feedback and there is less chance that the stronger-willed teammates will monopolize the conversation.
3. If possible, give members specific tasks that are within their sweet spots so that each can be successful at a certain part of the project and not overly influenced by the aspect of the project overseen by the strong-willed member.
4. There is nothing wrong with having a one-on-one meeting with the strong-headed individual and letting him know that you appreciate their opinions and individuality but that their approach can be stifling to the rest of the group. Sometimes that is enough to change the behavior.
I hope those suggestions help!