The Endless Frustration of Being a Team Player at Your Workplace

Often an employee is interviewed he or she is hired based on their ability to “be a team player”.

However once hired this is all forgotten.

Indeed it may well be frustrating.

The training course pep talks all involve large amounts of “We are a team ….. You may not….. But the team will… and ultimately we will all win by being team players1″

However when you as a new employee and “part of the team “ask for help to accomplish a task that will benefit the organization you may well be rebuffed of ignored. You may even be told by your supervisor that you either ask too many questions, you should be able to figure it out yourself without bothering others and he or she is too busy “managing which is his / her job ” and not to bother him

How does this dichotomy arise?

Management positions are often given as a “reward “to the highest producers – whether they be sales or whatever is accomplished in the organization.

For example in a hamburger fast food restaurant it may be the latest cook who can fry the most hamburgers in a shift.

Once promoted human ego takes charge. The management job has been given as reward. The person has risen in stature and prestige – well at least in their mind. You may be surprised that very effective employees especially in commission positions often earn more than their managers/ supervisors. In this case the prestige of the position is payment in kind instead of cash.

Once promoted most can never bite the bullet and go back. Human ego is a very powerful force. Even if the person who has been promoted is miserable in their new higher position it is a very rare event where a person or an organization will allow a person to step down.

In current management teachings and philosophy “The Team” is held in high stead.

However the “lone wolf ” who likes to work on his own , makes his own decisions and takes charge may well be the most productive in the organization.

It is often said that 85 % of any results come from 15 % of the actions.

In this case it may well be that 85% of the results in that organization result from the actions of only a small group – 15%.

The humor is that this person who likes to work alone is now rewarded with a promotion of management.

Often this is the worst rather than best choice for the management position rather than the best. Often the traits needed for management are rather dour and boring. Management in a lot of cases is simple boring administration and follow up – dealing with numbers rather than people.

First your manager / supervisor may be bored with his position. Formerly being in a front line position he may well know what is involved and wonders why some small jobs cannot he done. Indeed he may well think to himself “I could do that in a moment, what is so difficult. I could finish that task in short order.”

People now have “jobs” rather than “careers”. Turnover in the “Team enviornment” is high as people are easily interchangeable in ” the Team.”

The idea is for replaceable nameless employees who fit into the “system”.

Hence when you are gone the replacement can easily fit into your shows without a skip of a beat.

The redundancy of the team is supposed to cover for this continual lack of expertise. “You are part of a team. You may not sell / service the customer but another member of the team will”. Rah Rah !!! Sort of like a football game.

However back to the lack of understanding of the basic concepts of team management.

First as noted the very selection of the promotion process tends to weed out people who are comfortable with team concepts as opposed to individual responsibility and action.

Another type of employee who may well be promoted is due to longevity. The person who has ‘ survived “the longest is deemed to be most knowledgeable in the organization – be it products or services.

The humorous thing again is the reason the person is still there and employed can be either his productive skills or his ability to stay low, not be noticed and indeed not be “part of the team”.

Add to this all that these so called “managers” who really do not want “to manage” others are given “training in team concepts”.

This “so called training” usually involves being forced to watch movies and videos on the subject at training sessions and boring (at least to them ) when they could be out being productive by themselves: meetings.

Not only do your supervisor / manager not agree with the basic concepts foisted on him but he is forced to listen to and copy his superior who is most likely in the same boat.

Isn’t it amazing. The system picks employees who must hold at least two diametrically opposed views at the same time not unlike Charles Manson.

It is amazing that there are not more homicides on the work site .