Is Negativity Worth Reward and Recognition?
Project Management is a Cinderella occupation. Nick Garratt knows this only too well. He has to use not only his planning and organizational skills to keep the team of engineers and technicians on timetable, he also has to be the bearer of bad news and the motivator, all in one package. To top it all, the stars of the project are always the designers and the demonstrators. They inevitably receive most of the limelight and are usually first in line for plaudits.
When is it more important to recognize the efforts of an entire team more than any of the individuals in that team? Team working is not an exact science. There have been theories postulated for many years about team-working and it is important to consider, when dealing with recognition of team performance, that even within a team of, for example, engineers you may not only be looking to reward their ability to produce good engineering solutions.
Dr Meredith Belbin has defined team roles that, for example, different engineers play within the team. He says that we have two jobs in a project:
- The technical role that you are trained to carry out
- The team role that allows you to contribute to the project in other ways
If you only collect recognition information towards the end of the project you may observe only a few of the team who will be involved in the closing stages.
Belbin defines eight Team Roles: Completer, Coordinator, Monitor Evaluator, Implementer, Resource Investigator, Shaper, Teamworker and Specialist, all of which have their positive traits but some may appear more negative than others.
These people are classified as the Completer-Finishers of the team. Their eye for detail and capacity to check and double-check are well attuned to this activity but can be seen as fussy.
Monitor evaluators are by nature sober skeptics who will act as an anchor for all the blue sky thinking. Their role in the team is key to achieving a realistic and workable solution, but they achieve this by being terribly unexcited and critical.
They get the job done by being bombastic and demanding; it's the only way they know how. A Shaper is built that way because they are bold and somewhat reckless; traits necessary to operate in the world of uncertainty that they inhabit.
Quiet, retiring Teamworker types are very good at keeping the team stable by massaging the worries and concerns of the team and minimizing friction where they can. As operators they may appear to be indecisive under pressure and you could dismiss them as being ineffective.
Don't be tempted to use your own judgment about individual performance in a team environment if you are an outside observer. The chances are you will never be able to untangle who actually did what through their own efforts. People like Nick Garratt may actually have been pivotal in avoiding disaster many times throughout the project, saving the company thousands if not millions.
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