Most employers today will tell you that they want employees that are team players. If you have been in the workforce for any length of time, you know it is important to go along to get along. We’ve all gotta eat. However, there is a difference between being a team player and having a herd mentality in unethical situations.
What is herd mentality?
The Webster definition of herd mentality is “the tendency of the people in a group to think and behave in ways that conform with others in the group rather than as individuals.” In simpler terms, you do what everybody else does even when it is simply, stoopid. If you work in a restaurant and your team lead says spit in the bad customer’s drink, you do it to fit in, even though it is the wrong thing to do. If you are on a committee at work and the team lead is threatened and intimidated by the new hire, you withhold important company updates from the new hire, so they struggle to succeed. If you are working on a management project and the team lead has personal issues and is missing meetings, you slow down production, miss deadlines, to fit in with the weakest link and be liked.
Herd mentality skews towards the negative. Difficult personalities in the workplace have some charisma and the ability to lead others into misfortune. Watch out for this! If you find that your morality is constantly challenged in work situations, it might not be a good fit for you. Typically, you know if a job is a good fit in the first 90 days. Keep your eyes open for company snake charmers.
What is being a team player?
Being a team player is understanding the company’s vision and goals to make positive strives to support the bigger picture. When the company wins, you win! Here are some strategies to be the right team player:
- Understand your role
- Embrace positive collaboration
- Hold yourself accountable
- Commit to the team
- Be flexible
- Be optimistic
- Back up goals with action
If you are working for a company that is the right fit, you embrace the challenge of supporting great people with healthy goals and values.
NEXT STEPS: Reevaluate your position in the workforce. Are you being team player or contributing to herd mentality?