My note: what about the quest for consensus? A former library director claimed as foremost goal to improve the work of the librarians – consensus. To the point, when I had to write the library director: consensus in this library means the codification of mediocrity.
A recent study published in Applied Psychology has now confirmed that a collaborative work environment can make top performers–the innovators and hard-workers–feel miserable and socially isolated.
The problem is that rather than seeing a top performer as a role models, mediocre employees tend to see them as threats, either to their own position in the company or to their own feelings of self-worth.
Rather than improving their own performance, mediocre employees socially isolate top performers, spread nasty rumors about them, and either sabotage, or attempt to steal credit for, the top performers’ work. As the study put it: “Cooperative contexts proved socially disadvantageous for high performers.”
This is not to say that teamwork is a bad thing, per se. Indeed, most complex projects require a team to successfully complete. For teams to be effective, though, they need leaders who can swiftly squelch any attempt to isolate or denigrate a top performer.