Have members of your team taken an ownership mindset too far? It happens. And when it does it locks up progress as collaboration and the execution of evolving plans becomes almost impossible.

Here are three signs someone owns their work too much:

  • When an employee says, “This is my baby!” This is a clear signal that they are emotionally attached to the work – and you’d better not call it ugly. Without constructive criticism few things improve.
  • When colleagues convince themselves that just because they’ve invested their heart and soul into the development of some work that their effort warrants continuation of that work. Effort, while critical, never supersedes results.
  • When a teammate prioritizes the achievement of their function’s goals over the success of the enterprise.Reminder: The “hey, at-least-we-owned-our-part” affliction is often driven by a well-intended incentives/rewards process gone awry.

Ownership occurs when an employee couples emotional commitment with cognitive clarity. Yet, in their extreme states, both elements can cause difficulties.

It’s worth asking your team: What does the right amount of ownership look like for us?

P.S. More than ever, the mindset of the employee matters. For a frank discussion on the topic, I hope you’ll join us in our next Collaborative Leader’s Huddle, January 26, at 10:00 a.m. EST when we host Per Lagerback. We’ll be answering this BIG question: How do you build agile thinking across your organization? Sign up here.



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