If you run a team at work whose members are working toward a common goal, how do you recognize, measure, and reward the efforts of that team's individual members?
Last week, I wrote about the concept of "idea theft" in the office. It was for those people who express an idea only to hear someone else take "credit" for it. Many of the people I heard from recommended letting the credit stealing roll off their backs. After all, in a team environment the goal is to further an idea, and one shouldn't waste time looking for personal credit.
That got me thinking about the concept of workplace credit overall. I agree that a team structure exists so that people can work together to achieve a common goal. In the case of a basketball team, for example, the goal is to win the game. There is always going to be one person who leads in points scored, but there are quite a few assists from others going on to make those points possible.
Now here's where the basketball team analogy breaks off, and things get a little more complex. If the team is the focus, how does a manager go about recognizing, measuring, and rewarding individual accomplishments within that team? A good manager should know who is doing what and how well, but too many times the players making the "assists" don't get as much attention as the point scorers. I've seen too many managers seduced by the "big scores" of a team member and lose track of all the other team members who worked to make the score happen.
For you managers out there: How do you handle this? Are you in tune enough with the detailed workings of your team that you can recognize the individual players? If your team was asked this question about you, what would they say?
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.