Arun was a go-getter, he wanted to give the best to his work, achieve top results and was the efficient, proactive employee companies wish for. But there was one hitch, most of the colleagues in his team did not share the same enthusiasm. While Arun was all for giving the best for a project, his teammates would just want to get it done before the deadline. They misunderstood his drive as being over ambitious or as a way to get into the boss’ good books. They started alienating him from the group and would talk behind his back and exclude him from their meetings. Arun started feeling increasingly isolated and he felt frustrated that very few teammates shared his passion. He even started contemplating changing his job.
In most workplaces, projects and assignments involve the whole team’s efforts and not the work of a single individual, so collective efforts result in achievement of common goals. So it is ideal if all the team members share the same enthusiasm and desire to achieve optimum results. But the levels of enthusiasm and drive in employees vary and this can lead to disruption and conflicts in the team.
Employees like Arun may be viewed as pushy and ambitious by their teammates. But for such ’pushy’ employees, the rejection they face and their perceived lack of drive in their colleagues may make them frustrated and angry and even question the commitment and efforts of others. The other team members can refuse to co-operate or find ways to frustrate their efforts and defuse the enthusiasm of such colleagues. This leads to a conflict situation in the team and can bring their combined efforts to a dead end. In such situations the manager has to use his discretion and judgement to resolve the conflict in the team, balance the enthusiasm levels and find best ways to utilise the efforts of high-energy individuals. He should be careful not to encourage mediocre performance at the cost of high-performers who point out problems and are willing to work hard.
Such employees are valuable to the team and the company at large because they have the commitment, drive and engagement. When projects are not going according to schedule or the team is lagging behind, such employees provide that vital push and spark to get it moving. Highly successful leaders share this trait, they have the desire to win and are intolerant of those who cannot match their pace and enthusiasm. So, managers who ignore such employees run the risk of losing a valuable resource, because if their enthusiasm is undermined and their efforts are not given due recognition, they end up frustrated and look for roles where they will be better appreciated.
Good leaders and managers recognise this fact and are the first to spot such employees and promote their talents. They value the opinions of such employees. Such members transform a mediocre team because they have the courage to speak up and point out problems that affect the team and the company’s performance.
So an efficient manager should know how to tap the potential of such team members and at the same time avoid conflict and differences in the team. He has to counsel the enthusiastic team member to refrain from criticising others for their lack of effort or interest in a project. He should make him realise that such behaviour will only alienate him. Rather he should be coached to develop effective influencing skills that will help him to communicate better with others and achieve constructive results. It will bring positive results because his drive will inspire other team members rather than intimidate them. The manager must make it a point to recognise and reward these high-energy employees for their efforts. As for the other team members, they should realise the value such team members bring with their candour and outspokenness. They act as motivators for the team’s success. Their eagerness and diligence should be appreciated and emulated. They should make an effort to understand them and collaborate in work. Such employees are valuable to all teams. Their enthusiasm must be appreciated, because they have the drive to transform teams from good to great.