Confessions of a Semi-Team Player

OK, we confess. We’re guilty.

We’ve been working since the summer of our 16th birthday – grilling burgers at Johnny Rocket’s, stocking shelves at Target, and being the gopher at Mom’s office. So, we know a thing or two about how to be a great team player (those burgers didn’t flip themselves after all). And we also know how to be a really, really, bad team player (belated apologies to the camp counselors of Camp Wicosuta, Summer of ’01).

Now that we’re all grown up and find ourselves part of a company that provides an honest to goodness workplace engagement system, we’ve become really good at identifying the different types of terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad kinds of semi-team players. Recognize any of these?:

1. It’s all about ME.

Motivated and high energy, these players get excited when starting a group project. Unfortunately, they often forget the word “group” in this situation. They are vocal, opinionated and tend to monopolize any conversation or debate. Working effectively together is dependent on everyone being heard and feeling encouraged to share their ideas. The overly dominant ME player runs the risk of building resentment with in other group members, resulting in them opting out of participation.

2. Who, ME??

Nothing says wallflower than a teammate that sits on the sidelines and doesn’t participate. Remember, being part of a group project is an activity, not an excuse to sit back scrolling through your collection of dank memes, or cruising the social feeds. Whether they’re inherently introverts or just like the idea of flying under the radar, that behavior can impede a project’s success. Got someone on your team that meets this description? We recommend encouraging participation in other ways. For example, you can suggest they take notes during a meeting, ask them what they think of an idea or start off by having everyone go around the room to provide a status update on their part of the project. (BTW, this part is easy with our ThinkSpaces ☺)

3. Why Persist?

Most teams will encounter people who are slow to change or just plain resist. Why get stuff done when you can whine/complain and then drag your feet, miss deadlines and go over budget? It’s been said that “It’s the most unhappy people who most fear change.” If that’s the case, then as a business leader, it’s your job to examine their motivations, understand their environment and potential restrictions and engage them further. Speak to them about their concerns and emphasize the importance of flexibility and adaptability. You may be able to help them understand the need for change or they may raise valid points of objection.

4. When I can RESIST!

It’s one thing to drag your heels, but quite another to DIG those heels in. For the heel-digger, it’s all about resistance, defiance, a little hostility and some sabotage thrown in for good measure. Sometimes they provide an excuse – Big Brother, The Illuminati, The Government. Sometimes they just, well they don’t. The best way to work with this semi-team player is to communicate and engage. Read on for more about ‘Business Transformation & Change Management.