There is considerable writing on creating and being a team player. There is much more to this than platitudes and poetic prose. Some time’s the saying team player is preceded by saying you are not being a – team player. One should especially fear this admonishment or condemnation. It may not mean you are in fact, not a team player, but a ruse for manipulation by a person with interest in the outcome, sort of coercion through soft name calling, and appealing to your inner team spirit.
How many of us DO NOT want to be team players? Personally, while I do both solo and team type work, I would not want to be considered not a team player by the team in which I am a part. I once ha a job in testing and was asked to alter the testing results, specifically, close fault reports prematurely before any evidence of corrective action has taken place. I presented my position to the other team members, that was, fault reports should not be closed on a desire or thinking that maybe we have found the cause and corrected it, but something much more tangible. Additionally, since the tests conducted by this part of the team did not find the defects in their part of the work, I must question their ability to assess the real closure of the bug report. My thinking was logical, and was grounded in the process as defined by that department. If you found the defect, you are the one to test again and close if the anomaly has been solved. Thus, my answer was principled, and process based, it had everything to do with building a good product, which, in my mind, should be the team’s objective. I believe my unwillingness to manipulate the system or violate principles or process relegates me to the realm of non-team player. The irony or sad part, is this group of individuals was not involved with this part of the testing team (or me) until it was obvious the defect rate was soaring, and the defect closure time was too long to make the project look as if it would be completed on time, on budget, and at the desired quality.
So, what is the motivation behind labeling a team member as not being a team member? Does it effectively mean:
- Bend to my will
- See it my way
- Do as I say or be so branded
- If you don’t see it this way it is because you think poorly of the team
Not going along to get along can be a measure of integrity or commitment. It could also be an endeavor to improve things, to push to a greater point, to not accept remedial or lack-luster performance. Going along to get along when you are as certain as you can be, with measurements backing you up, that things are going wrong, is not the at of a team player either. Do team players allow the team to crash? By acquiescing to things, they know or believe to be wrong.