When team work becomes your work

March 28, 2016

Teamwork, everyone talks and writes sonnets about it. Teamwork makes the dream work, team means together everyone achieves more, alone we can do so little and the quotes go on and on. I am all for teamwork, but what if you are stuck with a team that just doesn’t work and you end up doing all the work? Is it still teamwork then? Or more like operation rescue team?

You find yourself in the middle of a team of slackers and crackers. You may be the newest member, the one coming up with fresh ideas and energy only to hit a huge brick wall of indifference. Your ideas and you are both ignored. And work is just not getting done. In time you find yourself covering for their mistakes, making excuses for their shabby work and worse, working overtime and on holidays to meet deadlines that weren’t yours to begin with. You don’t want to complain about the poor performers to your boss as you are new to the team and may not want to be tagged as ‘The escalator’; So what options are you left with? Fight? Flight? Or a wistful acceptance of your fate as you continue to be the one bearing everybody’s work load?
If it’s the latter then congratulations on your decision to burn out and keep your team member’s jobs safe at the risk of you getting fired!

On the other hand if you are ready to do something so you can stand out and get noticed then here are four easy steps to follow:

1) DON'T LET THE NEWBIE TAG HOLD YOU BACK
Yes, you are brand new in your company or have just joined a new team, but remember you have been hired because of your skill sets. So those skills needs to show themselves from day one. You are there to do a job and to do it well. You don’t need to be a force to reckon with, but make sure that your team members know that you are there to fulfil your job responsibilities and not theirs.

2) BE A 'RESOURCE-FULL'PERSON
If you notice that other people are not working to their full potential and it is having a ripple effect on the rest of the team, then you may want to send some resources that you think might help them or ask them if they need your help or assistance in that area. Yes, they may be a little offended at first, but make sure your offer to help is genuine. Remember don’t just point out to the problem but be or provide the solution.

3) LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
Even if your team members are not commending you for the good work you are doing, keep giving it your 100%. Remember I said ‘your’ 100%. Sometimes your colleague may pass on his work saying he’s overloaded with work, but when you take a peek at his screen, you discover that he is instead planting turnips in his virtual farm or feeding his virtual pets. If that is the case, then realise that you have just been had. Finish that bit of work for him but remember it’s going to be a big no no to the next SOS coming from his cube.

4) USE ESCALATION AS A LAST RESORT
So you’ve tried the first three steps and your colleague is just not willing to change his slow unproductive ways. Well, then it may be time to speak to your manager. Not in a complaining or whining way but in a professional ‘I need you to intervene’ kind of way. Well believe me no one likes to escalate issues to managers. Some are good pals with their coworkers and are afraid the friendship will get ruined as a result and others think that the manager will see them as weak, hard to work with people.

Firstly you aren’t there to make buddies and if your so called buddies need you to save their hide all the time then it isn’t a real friendship anyway and you have to risk your managers ire for the good of the company. You need to do what is right, especially if the whole team’s productivity is getting affected because of one or two work shirkers.

While in some sports, one player may successfully carry his team to victory that rarely happens in the corporate world. Each one needs to contribute for the project to succeed. So the next time your team wants to do a victory dance, ensure that each one is in fact a victor.

by Jackie Olivia

One Comment

  1. Prashant

    Hey Jackie,

    Yeah, that’s a good post & round up on team work. Keep your creative thoughts flowing on the blog. Consistency is important in blog posting. Congrats & keep it up.

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