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Balancing Acts in Team

25 Oct 2012

Corporates today have evolved by leaps and bounds! Beyond the usual rhetoric’s of ‘Commitment’ & ‘Compassion’, ‘Endeavor’ & ‘Earnestness’ and ‘Passion’ & ‘Perseverance’, today’s corporate culture resonates what most term as a ‘Feel Good’ factor as the most vital part. But, what at the end of the day is this ‘Feel Good’ factor? Here’s my perspective on it.

If I were to put a finger on one thing that has changed between the professionals of 80’s, 90’s and 00s’, it would all boil down to the ‘Ambition’. Don’t get me wrong when I say so, because I do not mean that the professionals through the 80s’ and 90s’ were any less ambitious than the modern age. The quantum of passion related to given work may remain same, but the ambition to scale the ladder of success operates on a different barometer all together.

Image source:: FreeDigitalPhotos

Furthermore, we all deal with humans. Humans with emotions, with an impeccable device weighing two and a half kgs capable of almost everything the world has seen. Humans who hate to see black and white as black and white and are intent on adding different shades of grey to everything that crosses their version of any story in their life. Not that this breed of humans did not exist earlier, but with the exposure to information, society at large and ever increasing ‘Ambition’, these feelings are and will only be on the rise.

So, these two major issues, elements, problems, facts call them what you wish to are perhaps most relevant in modern era. Teams, no matter how small or large they may be, are full of ‘Individuals’ housing these elements in them. I love to play with metaphors, so picture this!

Imagine a smallish land with say 10 buses (equate it with number of people you have in your team). There are no rules to drive the bus, no goal and everyone can just drive the way they want. What will happen is sooner or later people will dash the buses. If they don’t we’ll add 10 more and then we are sure to see some fun, aren’t we?

The point is, without any order to the system and without the bus drivers being told what’s in it for them, its mayhem. Even if the bus drivers were told, but they were NOT constantly aware of the fact that if they dash with others buses:

  • They are not helping the whole bunch and
  • They are damaging themselves

It is more likely to be still a disaster. So, how does the ring leader deal with such a situation?

First and foremost, the ring leader (team leader in general) assumes the responsibility to know the basic elements governing each of his/her team members. Secondly, establish order to the system and lay the rules for deviation from the same. Establishing the rules may not be enough, one would also be required to walk the talk. Next is, in a completely unbiased and unprejudiced way, leader should allow one to move ahead and hold the other back, keeping the betterment of the team in focus. ‘Diplomacy’ is of paramount importance in such a case. But, the biggest thing one needs to do is, explain what he actually wants to every single person in the union.

Balancing act is impossible if the elements of the equation decide to go for a toss. Then with the larger interest in the picture, a leader is supposed to take tough decisions. Tough decisions irrespective of how valuable an individual can be, but, if he or she’s not a team player he or she ain’t any good for the team.

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