In Warriors Workers Whiners & Weasels I discuss several different types of workers, one of which being the Team Worker. Many Workers derive their greatest satisfaction from being a key member of a team. Team Workers are often a wonderful addition to a workplace, because they derive their satisfaction from the achievement of overall group or organizational goals, which often tend to be more aligned with the organization’s needs than personal goals. It is also usually fairly simple to establish and track group goals and benchmarks, as opposed to the more varied individual goals.
Many businesses would also be enhanced with an infusion of some level of shared group goals into the organization to get the operation running more efficiently together, but this is somewhat dependent on the type of organization. In an operation that is highly dependent on cooperation between employees and departments, it is often advisable to establish incentive programs that reward group cooperation and success.
But sometimes this can backfire, because not all organizations thrive on interdependency. Several years ago, I had a highly ineffective manager working for me who used the “team concept” as a mask to hide his own and other individuals’ lack of performance. Although I had encouraged him to set incentive and bonus programs for Workers in his department based on their ability to hit certain performance targets, he fought the idea, explaining that it was more important that his department “work and not be torn apart by internal rivalries.
I allowed him to pursue this type of group motivational strategy, only to discover after a year that his department was overstaffed and unproductive, because individuals were not held accountable for their own performance. Certainly, one should analyze how to motivate Team Workers, and they can be wonderful in the right environment, but they are often not well suited for organizations that emphasize individual achievement.