The Detractor isn’t a bad person to have on your team, they aren’t malicious per se, but they are 100% – a Distraction – where their main goal is to detract you from your goal.
The Detractor has their own goals in mind, they are working towards something else that is separate from what the rest of the team is focussed on. Towards the end of each meeting, when everyone has said their piece and is clear on the next step for the project they come back with – “one last thing” – that doesn’t align with the path of the team.
It takes away.
Where the team was on a path, they are now on a collision course – “we thought we were doing this but now have this other thing to worry about” – it’s not clear, it’s not known and it’s detracting the team. Worse, it’s taking valuable time away as they think, ponder and possibly prototype down this path.
Don’t get me wrong, new ideas, suggestions against the grain are great – but they should come during the discussion, not at the end, not when everyone’s moving forward, at that point it becomes a distraction and it takes away from what people are supposed to be working on.
How do you nullify the Detractor? Get them involved during meeting, don’t let them hang back, bring them into every discussion, if they are not willing to volunteer up their suggestions this will fall to you and you will need to do this.
If done right, over time, the Detractor will hopefully become a memory as this person starts to offer up their opinions, suggestions and solutions continually during meetings.