Not My Problem Mentality

2 Contributors
Last updated 22 Nov 12:44

TL;DR

“Not My Problem” mentality is a dangerous phenomenon that can jeopardize your project. Collaboration is a result of a healthy team environment and a good leadership. Why is your team acting like they do not care about the team work? Read more!

What Is a Not My Problem Mentality

One of the very dangerous approaches to a team work is “Not My Problem” mentality and it is an opposite to a healthy team collaboration. It is not a team player’s mindset. It can endanger your team’s productivity, your relationships, the product, or, in the worst case scenarios, even lives. It is easy to walk away from a car accident thinking that someone else is going to take care of the problem. It is easy to walk away from an upset colleague without asking if they need any help. In the end, we both have a lot of work, right?

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It is true that people have to prioritize their own work. If everyone would be doing everything, they would get lost shortly. Management and a division of labor are needed, to a certain extent.

To become more committed and therefore avoid the “Not My Problem” mentality, the employee needs to feel empowered and important. Prof. Surekha Rana shows in her research Employee Empowerment And Job Satisfaction: An Empirical Study Of Manufacturing Sector that employee empowerment has a positive and significant impact on job satisfaction. It means that being involved in decision making and organizing work helps to feel satisfied with the job. In other words, it is crucial to try to eliminate the “Not My Problem” mentality in your team and let the team members be autonomous and more responsible.

Basically, if you are satisfied with your job, you are more likely to help others when you can. Remember that it is ok to say “no” if you do not have the time or capability to help others. But be a good team player and ensure that your reason for not helping is valid. You can also address the problem with management. Not dealing with the issues can spread. It becomes a distributed problem that cannot be cured by one change. It is a symptom of the corporate culture.

If the team lead recognizes the “Not My Problem” mentality in the team, they should discuss it at the team meetings with the whole team. Make a step by step procedure how to deal with a problem so everyone knows how to deal with it every time it occurs. If it is something rather delicate, let the team members report the problem anonymously.

Reasons of Not My Problem Mentality

  • Disengagement
    A feeling of a withdrawn. If you are not satisfied at work, why would you engage with other people's problems?
  • Overwork
    You simply cannot help anyone because you are overloaded with your own work. There is a very high risk of burnout and losing a valuable employee.
  • Unclear responsibilities
    If the employees do not have a clearly defined roles, their work becomes less efficient and the collaboration stagnates. “Not My Problem” mentality spreads.
  • Bad examples
    If the senior leaders do not seem to go the extra mile, why should the employees bother. Bad example can trigger “Not My Problem” mentality very quickly.
  • No recognition
    It does not have to be a huge pay rise but sometimes just a simple “good job” feels like the boss recognized your extra work. Feeling the appreciation encourages employees to walk the extra mile and be good team players.
  • Bad team leads
    The team leads are not the team players at the first place. If they cannot identify themselves with the team, they can spread the “Not My Problem” mentality. The team members’ problems should be their problems as well.

Resources for Not My Problem Mentality