Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bad players

Every team's nightmare. Bad players.

Categorically they;
  • Think they know it all
  • Think they know the best
  • Think they are more intelligent than anybody around them
  • Think they are undervalued
  • Think there is one perfect solution to all types of problems
  • Think they can do a much better job if the whole thing is left to them
  • Think not knowing is a sign of weakness
  • Think asking questions is a sign of weakness
  • Think admitting mistakes is a sign of weakness
  • Think teaching people what they know is foolish and a sign of weakness
  • Think hiding problems is the right thing to do unless someone asks for them
  • Think being part of a team can not be fun, it is just an unpleasant burden
  • Think the team's goals are not more important than their personal agenda
  • Feel no sympathy for people who do not know as much as they do
  • Feel no obligation to share their knowledge with people who do not know
  • Think being a good team player is not going to help them being more competitive
  • Think being a loner and staying as a specialist will make them special
  • Think teamwork is the biggest threat to their existence
  • ...
The list goes on and on.

The bottom line is these people are wrong on all accounts we listed above.

What they maintain is a massive delusion about the world around them and about themselves.

Contrary to the impression they want to give about themselves these people are extremely vulnerable. That is why they are so defensive and alert to protect their individual position.

What bad players are missing is that fundamentally being a good team player is not a foolish and altruistic behavior as it seems, on the contrary it is the smartest and the most selfish behavior one could master dictated by our genes ever since human species tripled their brain size in the last two million years. Most of the elaborate complexity our brains has to deal with is about being social. Our species survived and became intelligent because we managed to exploit our social capacity better with bigger brains, not just because we were successful individual hunters or gatherers, but because we could harness the social environment to our advantage.

Good team players are good team players because they have a sharper realization and awareness of their selfish interests. In the long run they know they will benefit more from being a good team player than being a poor player. In the long run good team players always win.

1 comment:

anti ob said...

Furtunately I've pretty much never been saddled working with one of these folks, but I know the ones you mean. People who are so competetive they compete with the people trying to help them accomplish the common goal. Crazy.