dealing with a problematic member of a board games group — Ask a Manager

here are the 10 best questions to ask your job interviewer — Ask a Manager

I am the letter writer who runs a board games group and used Alison’s excellent advice about communication to deal with a problematic member of the games group and the issues their behavior was causing.

We had a twist in the tale recently when Q, the member who was asked to leave the group because their behavior was negatively impacting others, asked if they could come back.

For four weeks every year, we use a different venue as another group needs our normal venue. One one of the four weeks, I went for a walk before the session and noticed what looked like Q in the park. When the session started, Q appeared, just “passing by,” and we had a quick chat about this and that before they asked if they could come back to the group, saying they were in a better place now. They then left without ordering anything, which makes me think they dropped in just to see us.

I said I would send a message, and gave it due consideration. I also asked a friend who knows Q and used to be in the group, but has now moved, for their more objective input.

The decision was no: the group is working well as it is, with high numbers and between 11 and 20 people per session, and Q coming back would lead to awkwardness and possible animosity from a few people, some of whom would speak their mind. We would also lose a lot of members, and the group would slowly decline. For what it’s worth, one person who had some very negative interactions with Q, when they heard why Q was there ( they were round the corner), exclaimed “No!” to Q coming back, and this person is one of the nicest people you’ll meet. Similar reactions were given from others.

I sent Q a message explaining the decision, and I was as fair and kind as possible given the circumstances. Q has found another games group, albeit one that only plays light games, ( not heavy games, Q’s preference), and I mentioned that and said it sounds like a nice group (which it does).

Q was perfectly pleasant when we chatted, but that was for about eight minutes, and they knew what was coming. They also said that they weren’t often doing the things I’d mentioned anymore (moving other people’s pieces, and a couple of other examples I gave), and that although their new group likes light games, they are helping some people progress up to heavier games. It wasn’t clear if the people wanted to progress (one of the issues we had was Q assuming that everyone wanted to progress).

The games group continues to do well, with enough surplus each year to give everyone free sessions every January, and we receive frequent feedback that the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and that people feel at home and confident to bring and teach their games there. Our annual Christmas potluck dinner and session with a Secret Santa also continues. We also have a Google sheet with people’s games collections, if they want to add them, thanks to one of our members who likes spreadsheets.

For myself, Ask a Manager continues to help me out at work! I recently applied for a job which would be a step up income wise and I used Alison’s tips, and I use the communication tips in daily life as well as at work. I was actually used as a bargaining chip in recent negotiations at work over a type of meeting that needs minuting (for my minuting skills), so I will take that as a compliment!

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