If Everyone Is Special…

A few basic team management policies I’ve picked up, either through personal experience or through research on the topic:

  • People working in teams function better when they have a clearly defined role.
  • Teams as a whole produce better ideas when the people in the group have more diverse backgrounds, such as coming from different parts of the country, or having distinct socioeconomic backgrounds.
    • Teams only get this benefit if team members aren’t ashamed of said backgrounds as a result of social stigma or an oppressive work environment.
  • Favoritism can cause people to work less – the favored individual because they no longer need to, the unfavored individuals because they see little point in working in a system biased against them.
  • Praise in public, punish in private. Pride is a strong motivator for any individual, no matter how outwardly humble, and feeding that pride while allowing for and encouraging correction can only be ultimately productive.
  • Similarly, gossip weakens team cohesion. Team members should be encouraged to talk to each other – not about each other.

I guess I should actually get to my point.

One of my coworkers said yesterday, “If everyone is special, then noone is,” a line I do believe coined by some Ayn Rand story. Google was not agreeable when I asked it to source the line precisely, so meh. (As an aside, if you put the line into google, guess what you get? A bunch of blog and forum posts. :P)

Anyway, that pithy saying seems to go against modern management principles, tried and tested, and established in accordance with our – admittedly incomplete – understanding of human nature.

And frankly, given the choice between an evil Russian philosopher and the modern management techniques that helped me to grow as a person throughout my ongoing adulthood, I’m going to go with the 21’st century on this.

If everyone is special, then everyone is special*. It really is that simple.

*-Also, your team will have higher productivity, bicker with each other less, get along with each other more, and be better aware of their options and assumptions.

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One Response to “If Everyone Is Special…”

  1. Naurgul Says:

    Wikiquote says it’s from the Incredibles, actually:http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Incredibles

    The film probably isn’t where the phrase was originally from but eh.

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