Best of the Rest – I don’t often run others work but this is good:

Imagine the case of someone supervising an exceptional team of workers, all of them striving towards a collectively held goal; imagine them hardworking, brilliant, creative and unified.

But the person supervising is also responsible for someone troubled, who is performing poorly, elsewhere. In a fit of inspiration, the well-meaning manager moves that problematic person into the midst of his stellar team, hoping to improve him by example.

What happens?—and the psychological literature is clear on this point. (1) Does the errant interloper immediately straighten up and fly right? No. Instead, the entire team degenerates. The newcomer remains cynical, arrogant and neurotic. He complains. He shirks. He misses important meetings. His low-quality work causes delays, and must be redone by others. He still gets paid, however, just like his teammates.

The hard workers who surround him start to feel betrayed. “Why am I breaking myself into pieces striving to finish this project,” each thinks, “when my new team member never breaks a sweat. The delinquency spreads, not the stability.

Down is a lot easier than up.

– by Jordan B. Peterson; 12 Rules for Life (pp. 369-370)

  1. Barrick, M. R., Stewart, G. L., Neubert, M. J., and Mount, M. K. (1998). “Relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 377-391; for a similar effect with children, see Dishion, T. J., McCord, J., & Poulin, F. (1999). “When interventions harm: Peer groups and problem behavior.” American Psychologist, 54, 755–764.

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier