Hello all,

Today I had a conversation with my direct report which has left me scratching my head a little and a bit confused by this person mindset...

To give you a bit of background, I have 3 direct reports, which consists of 1 deputy manager and 2 team leaders, I then also have a team of 35 co workers. Last month, I set each of my directs 3 goals I would like them to achieve this finanical year. In this meeting everyone seemed happy and went away immediately working on their goals. (this is normal procedure in the company I work for)

One important point to make is I really wanted my directs to then set goals for the rest of the team to help them 1. Achieve their goals 2. Help each co worker develop and learn whilst hitting the goal which in turn I would hope engagement and job satisfaction would increase.

All has seemed well, as most co workers are now achieving goals well above what I expected but they seem happier in their work. The biggest surpise I had was when one of my team leaders now thinks another team leader is selfish and is too focused on their own goals and doesnt see the bigger picture and help out. From my point of view, it looked like the 2 team leaders have a really strong relationship and I didnt see any problems.

The explanation I was given was "team leader a's goals are all they focus on and spend 80% of their time doing and I dont have time to complete my own goals"

I am having a tough time trying to see it from their point of view but I dont... am I missing something? This seems a little bit like the other person is feeling a bit hard done by that the other is achieving their goals.

Has anyone else experienced something like this or could anyone give me any advice on how to deal with this?

I hope this has made sense!





pucciot's picture
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* Be specific - Not everybody sees Helpfulness the same way

* If a Co-Worker doesn't understand this, just explain this concept to them.


Are you saying that you asked your three directs to help each other, but one of them is being accused of not helping the others?


Many folks don't like the idea of getting into directly helping their co-workers.


But, since you find it might be helpful to the team, to make it a goal,  I can understand where you are coming from.

I have done similar things with Goal Making.


I think the mistake may have been in perhaps not asking for very clear expectation levels and limits about what that helping would entail.


Basically, I recommend that is it OK to ask them to help each other, but you need to set a minimum base level acceptable amount. And what that would look like.


Prepare them all to know that some of their co-workers may only do the bare minimum and some may do more.


We need to take into account that everybody is a little different, and while it is OK to ask folks to do things outside their comfort zone, we should realize that their perception of how far something is outside of that zone will not be the same as our perception.


If one of the of the team only does the bare minimum, then you can still say that they have successfully completed their goal - i.e. they met expectations.

If one of them goes beyond the minimum, then you can praise them for going above expectations.


-- Be careful -- If you were not specific about the minimum performance, one of your team members may feel that they did what you asked,  but then you penalized them for not doing more than enough.   

This will damage your relationship as a supervisor, and disincentivize them from ever being more helpful in the future.

Honestly - they may have truly felt they went way outside their comfort zone, and you did not provide the proper recognition.


So -  Let's take a step back and with the complaining co-worker and see if the goal of helping was met for a minimum level of expecatation.

And Let's not be greedy with a co-worker's time.

They probably helped more this time than they would have done normally.

Let's thank them for what they did do.

Give them the space to grow. 

Ask for a little more next time you set the goal.


The point of setting those Goals was to foster positive relationships - not disapointment or jealousy.


Good Luck