When One Employee Doesn’t Function As A Team Player


I was working with a client who just hired a new front office reception person.  They had checked out all of his background and he passed with flying colors.  Now that he has been working with them for several weeks the entire workplace team has noticed that their new reception person is not a team player.

It is not that he does not do his job, it is that he only does his job, and thinks about his job, and does not consider how what he does effects the rest of the workplace team.

For example:  This office is a medical practice and they try to schedule their lunch from 12 -1:30, but that may or may not happen on time depending on the patient load and other things that may come up during the morning.  The team knows that they all stay to help finish up with the patients and then dash for lunch.

Their new employee, even though it was explained to them how it works, leaves right at noon, not giving the fact that patients are still being seen has anything to do with him.

At the new employees previous employer, he functioned as an independent.  Not really accountable to anyone else but himself.

Being an independent player will be a hard habit to break and re-training him will take time and his willingness to understand how a team works and how his teammates view him if he chooses to function as an independent  person and not as a team player.

I recently read a good article about this very issue in the online Houston Chronicle called How to work with someone who is not a team player.  The article had a lot of great ideas on what to do if you find yourself in this situation at work.

The point that I found most valuable is below:

An effective leader teaches employees how to look beyond self-interests and concentrate on what’s best for the team. Help the employee realize the team’s objectives, including what you are trying to accomplish, the best outcome for the project, deadlines, and his role and responsibilities. Rather than accuse him of not being a team player, explain the characteristics of a good team player, such as reliability, flexibility and being an effective communicator. Also explain the negative effects of not being a team player, such as friction among the team, low productivity, and loss of time and revenue.

As a team leader or manager we need to be able to be up front and direct with what our workplace culture is and what it is that our employees need to do and demonstrate while on the job.

If your place of employment functions as a team then all employees need to know what it means as far as their position, and what is it that they need to do to make it happen so they do not hinder the team from moving forward.

How do you create good team players?


One thought on “When One Employee Doesn’t Function As A Team Player

  1. That’s a tough one. We used to socialise at a local bar once a month just to chat and have an opportunity to converse on an even keel. Whilst shooting some pool or having a beer we could resolve most differences of work practice. Sometimes though, it became obvious that a member was just not a good fit.

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