Each organisation , and as such a team , has to be seen as a open system where the reinforcement and balancing loops between the elements give rise to a emergent property of the system. This means that not every element has to perform to his maximum in isolation , because as such it can jeopardize the whole property of the system. Some people are perform below their individual capability, when operating in a context of a team. this is not only evident in sport teams , but also in companies.
Let's take the example of a soccerteam ( exp in Uk and Spain):
Exciting games combined with supporter fanaticism result in high attendances, which attracts high media interest, which leads to high revenues for the clubs (and the league association), which allows them to attract the best players for top wages, which eventually leads back to exciting games.
But there are clearly also negative feedback phenomena, which provide counterbalance to such positive feedback. For instance the sometimes excessive behaviours of some top players (who cannot handle their fame, their wealth, their god-like status, etc.) putting negative pressure on their market value; excessive players' paychecks putting clubs in financial distress, which in turn has already resulted in some clubs resorting to game-fixing, with catastrophic (albeit not unsurmountable) impact on the game's reputation and consequent revenue potential.This is a typical Limit to Success archetype.
Team performance will depend highly on the performance of the heroic individuals:in soccer it is more the striker and goalkeeper.
Do you criticise a striker for taking a shot at goal - which is his role - rather than passing the ball to a better positioned teammate ? Does it depend on whether or not he actually scores ? Should it matter whether he scores ? And, crucially, how does this affect the behaviour among the other team members, since individual heroics, especially when they do not have the desired outcome, could well increase individualism and/or indifference among the others and thus have a negative impact on team performance ?
Similar dynamics and dilemmas are present in companies, where some have let's call it "more visible" roles than others, and perhaps are given the credit for what, ultimately, an entire team has achieved.
Thus it could well be that team performance is best served when some members perform below their individual capabilities! And that it is best served when everyone contributes to the heroics of a few team members, where such individual heroics contribute to team performance. But what you do not want to see, is that individual team members pursue individual heroics at the expense of team performance;
This can also happen in companies , where some individuals which are more visible , take all the glory from the others and can so break also the team.
It is important to understand the relative strenght of the positive and negative feedbackloops , between individual and team performances. It will explain attitudes and behaviors
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