This is something that constantly raises it’s ugly head – especially when it comes to review time.
‘Teamwork’ and ‘Collaboration’ are words that many managers like to throw around during the year. After all, what manager wouldn’t want to know that his team are able to work well together and can problem solve to come up with the right plan? What teammate wouldn’t want to know that if they needed help, their peers would be there to help them out?
So then why do managers find it so difficult to recognize that they need to reward this type of behavior? The processes we put in place for measuring performance year over year are so often targeted at the success of the individual. Did they meet their goals? Did they ship the right features? Did they manage their work cleanly and deliver their project on time? When you measure this kind of activity, you often miss the most important piece - their behavior. How did they do it? Did they step over everyone else to get it done? Did they ignore helping teammates for fear the peer might leapfrog and get that top position?
I encourage you that next time you start building out commitments and goals for your team….think about just that. The goals for your team. What behaviors do you want to encourage? I firmly believe that it is still possible to encourage great performance and competitive spirit, while still encouraging and rewarding collaboration…after all, isn’t that what great sport teams do?
They communicate fluently, assist each other, encourage each other and most importantly learn from their mistakes so that they can improve the game the next time around. Yes, there will still be Beckhams and Shaquilles, and you’ll still need to make the tough decisions as a manager when it comes to ranking. Just don’t forget that if you value and encourage teamwork, you must reward it.