Over my nearly 50 years in the hotel industry, supplemented by numerous volunteer projects since retiring I continue to be of the opinion that most people are not team payers by instinct or nature.
I know that some will label me as a crotchety old grinch, out of touch, or just plain wrong. So be it, but I know what I’ve seen and what I’ve dealt with.
The reality is that when the chips are down most people will do what they deem to be in their own best interest with what may be good for the team being in a not-so-close second place.
Before someone points out that police, military units, and other similar groupings work as a tight team I would suggest that they do so because they have been taught that it is a way of protecting their own butts. It doesn’t mean they were team payers by instinct. That process begins in a training camp and is hammered home on a daily basis throughout their employment.
Please understand that I am not against teams or building teams. I’ve participated in numerous team-building exercises and have even run some. But that is my whole point. Teams must be built through training and showing the participants that working as a team is in their best interest.
It doesn’t matter what the title is. Coach, department head, general manager, team leader, CEO, or executive chef. Anyone with people working under their direction must become a leader and that entails getting reports to work as a team.
Most people can be trained to be team players by finding an alignment point of the team’s needs with those of the individual. Obviously finding the individual’s needs/desires is a key building block in this process. Those that can not be molded into the team must be culled out of the ranks or the group will never be fully functional.
That culling process is one of the hardest and most disagreeable tasks of any manager/leader. But that is a topic for another day.