Effective Team Players Stay in Their Lanes

lanes-17In a staff meeting, the manager said, “One of our new customers has expressed concerns about our timelines.  He wants to come in next week.  If we can gain his confidence, I think we can keep the account and perhaps even increase our sales.”

“I apologize for the short notice,” the manager continued, “but I need someone to work up some cost estimates and delivery times for the customer.  Since our plates are full, this will probably mean weekend work for someone.”

Members put their heads down and fidgeted while remaining silent.  No one jumped to seize the opportunity.

Eventually, Janice said, “I am not very familiar with this customer’s needs, but guess I can prepare some draft proposals for you.”

Other team members exhaled in relief.  The perplexed manager silently shivered.  He doubted that Janice had the experience necessary to do a good job.  The manager also knew that others, while very committed, did not want the weekend duty.

The manager can accept Janice’s offer and provide immediate relief to others—this could put the customer at risk.  Or, the manager can gratefully refuse Janice’s offer and ask another, better qualified member to take the assignment—perhaps increasing stress for the employee.

I say go with the option that best serves customer.  Refuse Janice’s offer.  Pick the best person for the task—ensure the person gets properly rewarded.  Effective leaders require team players to stay in their lanes and perform the roles they perform best.

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