The Law of the Chain
The Strength of the Team is Impacted by Its Weakest Link
As much as any team likes to measure itself by its strongest people, the truth is that the strength of the team is impacted by its weakest link. No matter how much people try to rationalize it, compensate for it, or hide it, a weak link will eventually come to light.
When it comes to teamwork…
- Not everyone WILL take the journey
For some people the issue is attitude. They do not want to change, grow or conquer new territory. All you can do with people in this group is kindly thank them for their past contributions and move on.
- Not everyone SHOULD take the journey
Other people should not join a team because of their agenda. They have other plans and where you are going is not the right place for them. The best thing you can do with people in this group is kindly thank them for their past contributions and move on.
- Not everyone CAN take the journey
Often those who cannot take the journey cannot keep pace with other team members, do not grow in their areas of responsibility, do not see the big picture, won’t work on personal weaknesses, won’t work with the rest of the team, or cannot fulfill expectations for their areas.
If you have people who display one or more of these characteristics, you must acknowledge that they are weak links.
If you have people on your team who are weak links, you have two choices: train them or trade them.
Your first priority should always be to train those who are having a hard time keeping up. Give them hope and training, and they usually improve. However, if this fails to encourage said team member to meet expectations and grow, you need to give that person an opportunity to find his or her own level somewhere else.
If you are a team leader, you cannot avoid dealing with weak links. Team members who do not carry their own weight not only slow down the team, but they also impact your leadership.
These are some of the things that happen when a weak link remains on a team…
- The Stronger Members Identify the Weak One
A weak link cannot hide. If you have strong people on your team, they always know who is not performing up to the level of everyone else. A weak link always eventually robs the team of momentum and potential.
- The Stronger members Have to Help the Weak One
If your people must work together as a team in order to do their work, then they have two choices when it comes to a weak teammate: They can ignore the person and allow the team to suffer, or they can help him and make the team more successful. If they are team players, they will help.
- The Stronger Members Come to Resent the Weak One
Whether strong team members help or not, the result will always be the same: resentment. No one likes to lose or fall behind because of the same person repeatedly.
If your team has a weak link that cannot or will not rise to the level of the team and you have done everything you can to help the person improve, you must take action. As long as a weak link is part of the team, everyone else on the team will suffer.