Before you start wondering what a loafer or who a social loafer is, let me be brutally honest by saying that you most probably are, because when I learnt about this, I realised this about me too. So, do not judge me but may be let us explore the possibility of you being a social loafer or being an associate to one, both of which are detrimental to your performance. Now, since the disclaimer is over, let’s get to business!!!
There is a short story of “10 jugs of wine”, which I recently read and discovered something about myself and people around me. There used to be 10 old men who decided to get together for a retreat and since no one was ready to pay for one another, they are decided to get a jug of wine from their own cellar and share amongst each other. One smarty pants thought while he was at his cellar, “my wine is more precious than others’, so let me take water instead, no one is going to find out.”
He went there with his pitcher and all of them pored the contents of their jugs into the cauldron for heating. After feeling too smart about himself, he came and sat on the chair. Ten wine glasses were placed round the table and ten “wise men” sat. The hand maid came with a pitcher of hot wine she filled from the cauldron, to fill all the wine glasses. All the “wise men’s” smirk were wiped off with a sheepish embarrassment when the wine glasses were filled with hot water instead of hot wine.
Each had thought of outsmarting the other and brought water instead of wine. The collective was a cauldron of hot Water instead of hot wine. Life is similar to this. How many times in any team work Have you been the “wise man”? How many times have you encountered a person in your circle who could have done this due to the diffusion of responsibility. You could be the greatest talent in the world in any field but if you are not contributing your best when in a teamwork, you are unjust and if all are as smart (or selfish) as you, you will only get a glass of hot water.
This story kind of anchored deep within me. I am not a team player, I am more of an individual performer. Thus every time I have to try to convince others of the merit in my idea and no one is ready to listen then, I just give up and contribute in execution while I know that the other idea is actually beneficial. This is wrong for the collective good of the group. At least it could promote a healthy discussion.
Accepting the flaws is the first step to correcting it. This behaviour where some one dilutes the contribution due to the lack of responsibility is know as social loafing. If you have ever had the slightest thought of compromising the full effort that could be given by you, welcome ladies and gentlemen, you too are a social loafer. I have accepted my flaw and set on to correct it, maybe I could count on you to accompany me in this journey? Now, I ask you again, are you a social loafer? Do you know someone who needs help? Feel free to comment and I would be happy to have a friend in the path that I am currently treading.