I overheard some folks at work talking in a common work space, debriefing about a project in which some errors occurred to a major part of it. One person quickly chimed in after it was determined when the error was made, “Oh, I wasn’t here that day.”
I don’t know about you, but I thought if you’re a part of a team, then you’re all in it together. Either you all sink or you all swim. Just like in football or basketball (why do we love to use sports analogies when trying to make a point), if you’re out sick and the team wins the championship, you still get a ring if you’re on the team. If your team doesn’t win while you’re out, you’re still a loser – well, at least your team is a loser.
I get that this employee was in self-preservation mode. But I can only imagine how that looked to her other colleagues on the team. If the project had ended and everything was flawlessly executed and the team was given an incentive award, I wonder if that same employee would still blurt out they weren’t there. Of course the employee wouldn’t say, “Oh, I can’t accept this award because I was out that day.” The same is true if XYZ team wins the Super Bowl and a member of the team was sick or injured, he’ll still be able to claim the victory – every active member of the roster gets a ring, even the one who was injured and didn’t play in that particular game; and if XYZ should lose, that sick or injured individual still shares in the blame of that loss.
Workplace teams are the same way. Rather than that employee to be so quick to say they weren’t there when something went wrong, they should instead focus more on employing contingencies to use in the future so the deficiencies don’t happen again? That’s how I think of it, but then my thoughts usually make me the oddball.