In my current role, I have to do a lot of thinking around how to structure an organization to work in a more productive manner. One thing that often gets over looked is that, individuals play a large role in how a team interacts and ultimately performs. What I have found are that there are certain types of co workers that can really destroy an environment and it is best to get them away from any decision making role as soon as possible. There are a few that I have found especially zap a team.
1. I’ve Put in Time
This person expects a promotion and more money because they have been on the job for a certain amount of time. A lot of these people sit around surfing the net, sitting in meetings (often completely zoned out) and scheduling lunches with their friends and leaving early to do something totally meaningless. These people can be annoying because they think time equals a right to a promotion. I think skill mastery equals a right to a promotion.
But these people get promoted because they are often seen as harmless as they do tend to have a nice mannerism to them. They play the game and kiss up to the boss, they are also often worthless in terms of adding value to the team. Because they didn’t master the skills needed to really do the job, they end up sucking up time and resources that could have been used on real work. They also make poor leaders because the team won’t respect them. Often they feel like they know what they are doing but they don’t because they didn’t master the skills they should have. Then someone like me has to come in and clean up the mess they left behind.
2. It’s Good Enough
This group really is toxic. Sometimes I will run into a project where a lead will say that the work is good enough. Good enough by whos standards? The customers? No, by their standards. The translation of this is, “I’ve put in enough effort and I don’t feel like putting in any more so I will claim this is good enough even though I have no facts to back this up.” I want the best for my customers, the best experience we can give them because I know they want it. Good enough, is not good enough in my book.
When someone tells me that it is good enough, I understand that they do not respect the customer and when you don’t respect the customer, you are basically telling them to go to your competitor. Why would you do that? Good enough is never good enough because what customers want is always moving. These people have lost the passion and if in a leadership role, you will find that your team soon losses the passion too.
3. I Only Care About my Area
I remember back in college first running into this type. Like many projects, it was a team project and the prof assigned us to teams. On my team was a guy who was a different major, this was a core class for my major and elective for him. Our semester long project he felt we could get done in two hours because this class was not his concern as it wasn’t part of his core major. In the corporate world, I run into these types all the time. They often lead a small area of the company and if in a meeting about enterprise wide topics, they will always try to make it about their part of the business. They might even go so far as to say, they don’t care unless it has to do with their area.
These people forget we are all on the same team. They also get highly offended when another person just like them tries to hijack the conversation to be only about their area too. Then you spend the next 15 minutes watching them battle it out.
If you want a great team, it means having great people, I would prefer to be positive but sometimes you have to look at what is holding you back and if you have these people on your team, they are and will hold you back.