Way back in 1913, a French Engineer called Maximilian Ringlemann completed a study in which he confirmed that the power of two animals pulling a cart was not double the power of a single animal pulling it.
Wanting to explore things further, Maximilian had several men pull a rope and measured the force applied by each individual. He found that if two people were pulling together each invested 93% of their individual strength, 3 people it dropped to 85% and with 8 people lulling the rope? It dropped to just 49%!
What's that got to do with my team?
This is called the Social Loafing Effect. And it occurs in all different forms of teams, from business to sports.
So the question is. Has your team ever performed at full capacity?
Now, I'm not saying your team is purposely lazy but social loafing is an unconscious behaviour within all of us (yes that means you too!).
When people work together in groups, the individuals performance is not directly visible and it's easier for short-cuts to be made and not seen.
If you think about it, this shouldn't come as a surprise. Why should they invest in all their energy and effort when only half of the team will do the same, especially when a short-cut won't even be noticed?
However, what is surprising is that your employees will not come to a complete stop (think back to the men pulling a rope, even with 8 there was still 49% effort being applied!).
So what stops individual's in your team just letting everyone else get on with the work? The answer is very simple.....
No performance would be noticed
This is evident in company meetings. People participate less in larger meetings than in small think groups. Not only is your team holding back in participation but they are also holding back in accountability too.
What can I do to make my team perform better?
Do not fear, not all hope is lost.
Although the social loafing effect is rational behaviour, there is something you can do about it.
The disadvantages of groups can groups can be mitigated by making individual performance as visible as possible.
This tactic works and you can see it's effect by looking at any sales team. Every sales team will have a shared goal or objective and good sales teams will often hit that objective. This is because each individual within the team is performing at their highest capacity. Why?.... Individual contributions are are evident through revenue and individual targets.
In very simple terms people behave and work differently in groups than when alone and this effecting your teams performance and you need to do something about it!
Hi, I'm Chantelle Jones