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Team Building And The Invisible Thief

Dec 13, 2007
I was visiting with a motivational speaker recently and I discussed some of my views on team building. There was discussion on the need for making sure everyone could identify with the goal of the team and they understood the unique role they played on the team.

Since my friend had been a part of a major team oriented business throughout his career he could identify with what I was saying and he found himself in general agreement with my assessment of the need for team building.

1) They are not employees they are team members.
2) Productivity increases when team members work together as opposed to a business comprised of lone rangers.
3) Problem solving is best observed in team-oriented brainstorming.

When we began discussing some of the problems inherent in a lack of team building I mentioned the lack of productivity and cooperation. My friend agreed and then he said something that I hadn't considered, "It won't be long before those employees steal something."

At first I found the comment strange. After all, why would an employee steal something just because team-building ideals were not observed?

The more I thought about the issue the more I began to understand the scenario my friend was talking about. You see, employees often look at what they do as slave labor. Yes, they willingly took the job, but they often find the notion of being an employee frustrating as their job satisfaction level plummets. Many of these workers will say things like, "They do not pay me enough for this." They are simply doing a job instead of molding a future and forging a path.

"Employees" can often find themselves in a place where they simply carry out orders without being considered as useful in overcoming problems. They can get frustrated when they feel that you really do not consider them valuable. In larger corporations they might wonder if you even know who they are.

If these frustrated employees come to the conclusion that you do not consider them valuable and rewards are non existent or minimal they may reach out and reward themselves. They believe there should be more to a job than what they experience, but no one has given them a voice to express their opinions on matters that affect them.

These 'employees' may steal time, office products or other items that may not typically be missed. Of the items listed it is time that is most often stolen. These employees will figure out ways to manage the bare minimum in duties and then they might spend time on the Internet or talking to other employees or on the phone.

Many employees find ways to do their work as slowly as possible to keep a low expectation of their efforts. In this way they steal from their employer.

Team building not only maximizes potential it also provides the purpose many need to feel as though their work is valued and that they can contribute to the overall success of a company.

No one likes to feel invisible, but if they do expect the potential for employee theft.
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