You Are The Antidote To Social Loafing

I was reminded of an idea I found in The Captain Class by Sam Walker, social loafing. The basics of it is for some strange reason when people get together and try to tackle a task they don't put in as much individual effort as they would if they were doing the same task alone. Of course the overall effort is greater because you have more people, but as an individual your effort is lower. Most teams operate this way, "I do my job but I'm not going to give extra effort, why should I when nobody else does?" Suddenly the individuals are in a race to the bottom to see who can give the least amount of effort and still achieve the team goals. It is hard to recognize because as a team you are accomplishing your goals, but could you actually achieve more?

In the book the antidote to this situation was the presence of one person that leaves no doubt that they are giving everything they have to the team. It is usually the person that other complain about in the hallway conversations. The one that people often don't like for all the wrong reasons. "Doesn't she/he know that they are making the rest of us look bad?" They might not like it but maybe everyone starts giving just a little bit more. A team of 10 people, where each person gives just 1 minute of extra effort each day equates to an extra week of production in a year. A single person taking a minute a day to help a co-worker save themselves 10 minutes of work has the same effect. You can be that person.

People think that you need to be part of the biggest projects and do the amazing feats to be seen as a star in their world. Rarely does it happen, more often is the case of someone doing the little things, day in and day out, letting those little things add up to something big at the end of the year that makes a true impact. Progress isn't made by doing just enough to be better than your neighbor, progress is made when we are each giving our absolute best each day.


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