The Domino Effect

Team members rely on each other. When everyone does what they commit to doing, the results can be fabulous. On the other hand, if one person neglects to hold up his or her end of the bargain, it can create a domino effect where the house of cards tumbles down.

If your organizational structure is built around teams, as the leader, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the teams function to their best advantage. There isn’t room for prima donnas, lone rangers, or slackers. They need to understand that no matter how talented they are, they will drag down the team if they behave in such fashion.

I recently observed a situation where coverage slipped on an important project, and the results were a mess. Brian was backing up team member Louise, who was overburdened by another situation. Brian did the minimum required, and when Louise returned to pick up the slack, the damage was already done.

Brian is both a lone ranger and a prima donna, and basically resented the fact that he was asked to support Louise. He felt that the things he missed weren’t his responsibility and didn’t think twice about the damage that resulted.

Without getting into the gory details, imagine the heated discussion that ensued. This only made an already unsatisfactory situation worse.

As the leader, it’s necessary to run interference, conduct an appropriate debriefing, and help the team learn the lessons that emerge. You set the tone.

It goes without saying that if people repeat the same mistakes, something more systemic is going on. For now, focus on encouraging team behavior and discourage actions that detract from successful outcomes.

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
– Steve Jobs

Header image by Pixabay.

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