Do you hate your team enough?

Based on long experience, I can only assume that this is a question that many managers ask themselves on a daily basis: “Do I hate my team enough?” Quickly followed by: “How can I demonstrate the extent to which I hate my team?”  Well, I feel it’s my job in life to help managers, so here’s my tip: if you want to demonstrate unequivocally that you hate your team, send them on a team building/training exercise.

Now, be careful here.  I mentioned “training” because that what these team building seminars are often called.  Having said that, it’s vitally important that any training component be of no value whatsoever to the people undertaking said training.  The training should be about “team building”, “problem solving” (note: not problems they will actually encounter in their work but abstract or conceptual problems) “conflict resolution” (you’ll need this for when they come back wanting to kill you) and best of all “corporate values”.

For best effect, the training/team building environment needs to be as unrelated to the work environment as possible.  A consistent winner is sending IT development teams on wilderness survival treks.  These geeks spent their high school years being bullied by the sporty types who run these outdoors activities.  They miss it.  A few years ago paintball tournaments were very popular.  Shrewd managers thought it would be funny to make pasty dweebs run around with weapons.  Bad idea.  Even facsimile weapons can give geeks inspiration for wreaking revenge on you.  High powered rifles and paint ball guns handle in a remarkably similar manner.

Tailor the team building exercises to be humiliating as possible.  If your staff are desk bound and have seen neither the light of day nor the inside of a gym for years, send them rock climbing.  If they are introverted and socially awkward, force them into uncomfortably intimate situations or maybe make them perform some “hilarious” skits.  Hilarious for people who enjoy watching torture anyway.

When your staff say “I’m too busy for this,” you say “You need to make the time for your personal development.”  When they say “Giving up this time for this stupid team building exercise will make the project late,” you say “You need to prioritise more effectively – work smarter, not harder.”  When they say “This is a waste of fucking time!” you say “You’re not a team player.” (This is an excellent all-purpose phrase that carries the veiled threat of a bad performance review and no pay raise/bonus)  When they say “I have evidence that you’re taking kickbacks from the training company,” you say “You’re fired.”

Most of all, make sure the team building event is no fun whatsoever.  I’ve had team days in the past before that were lots of fun and they did the managers involved no good whatsoever.  When people have fun once, they expect more fun later.  A team that’s had fun returns to work invigorated and lively; and an invigorated team is scary as hell for a manger who’s out of their depth.  Plus, a team that enjoys each other’s company ends up being united and what sort of manager wants to deal with a strong, united team? 

When you get right down to it, a team building seminar can be the ultimate Zen moment for a manager.  It’s a perfect moment when you make someone’s life miserable while giving the outward appearance of doing something positive.  So this is my call to managers everywhere: go for it!  Take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself:

“How much do I hate my team?”

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Do you hate your team enough?

  1. Sounds to me like you want to go on a team building, high powered rifle-paint ball day.

  2. I think you’ve hit the team building nail on the head. Quad bikes anyone?

  3. You’re just not a team player are you?

  4. I have some people I would like to send on these events. They are the ones that sit in meeting talking about the lack of cooperation and communication. The lack of “team”. Then when they leave the meeting they have the attitude of ‘leave me alone i’m gonna do my own thing’.

  5. I like evil, hypocrite managers. They are good fun to me while I’m my own employer. Makes me feel it’s worth all the extra work.

  6. Anyway, I need your email (for the tellie project) now, Mr Angry, so ping off one to d (at) wordly (dot) org and I’ll catch it.

  7. Salamaat,
    hahaha, this is brilliant! We have an upcoming team builder, bowling…i guess it could be worse, but I am still not looking forward to it…who wants to hang out with the aforementioned pasty dweebs AFTER work hours?

  8. Maliha, so long as the bowling alley has a bar all is good.

  9. Got to give my place credit, they don’t don’t have team building exercises like this.

    Of course, being a college, we have diversity training, empowerment training, and other similar things that all proceed in the manner of the “hilarious skits” kind of session instead, which are all very important.

    If they wanted to empower our team they’d do something about the fact that we’re at 50% strength with no let up on our schedules and commitments, but I suppose that getting through this is a ‘team building’ opportunity after all.

  10. gruntski: Something like that, yeah.

    teambuilding: quad bikes? were they trying to kill the team?

    daniel: excellent quote, thanks for the link.

    Michelle: not even a little bit

    Sandra: yeah, the arbitrary enforcement of “team” pisses me off

    Daniel: it’s good to get reinforcement that you’ve made the right decision (plus I’ve edited out your email address to try and limit the amount of spam you get)

    Maliha: I’ve actually had “bowling days that I enjoy (it depends on the people). It’s better than rock climbing anyway.

    Candice: Yes, a bar is a prerequisite.

    Robert: there you go, being practical instead of being a team player.

  11. Mr. Angry: Why? I’m sure Daniel loves getting spam! :P

    Team building. Well. I was a manager before at my old job. The key as a manager is motivating people to exceed their predefined limits.

  12. Oh. I don’t get much spam. I have the best spam filters in the world. 0 spams so far and I’ve been publicly displaying it for a month or so.

  13. Wow, I am so glad that I work for myself now.

    When I was working on the corporate world though, we never had time for any of these things. Managers wouldn’t even bother us to talk about the project because they knew we were busy trying to make headway on the hundreds of changes requested since the week before (50% of which were changing something back that was changed two weeks ago). Who has time to shoot at each other (particularly without the chance of harming your coworker)?

  14. range: I like your management philosophy – encourage people to break their self-imposed limits, don’t browbeat them pointlessly

    Daniel: you need to share your spam filters with the world

    Joshua: Another one of these happy self-employed types showing off ;)

  15. gruntski’s suggestion of paintball might work, but it might be too much fun. You’d need to crank the paintball guns up to unsafe limits so no one has any fun unless they like getting welts!

  16. Yeast

    Have just attended such an event. The day started well, with a discussion about what makes a High Performing Team – pop-psychology theories with no empirical evidence. The high point for me (BSc Hons, MSc) was being told by a meat-head facilitator “try not to screw the next exercise up” after taking the “non-participation” option. Result – team manager has done his back in after showing excessive leadership, at least two members of staff have job interviews next week. The only winner appeared to be the chef, who drove off in a very nice Audi TT…

  17. Pingback: What Makes a High Performing Team? | CallCenterBestPractices.com

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