If you are trying to develop a sense of teamwork in your office, you might have someone who just resists efforts to collaborate. This loner might be introverted, defensive, and exhibiting a me-versus-them kind of mentality. While they might be a major hindrance to teamwork, they might also be too valuable to let go. So how do you handle them? Here are different approaches for handling a “lone wolf” in your office, as suggested in the article “Building a Sense of Teamwork Among Staff Members”:
Give Them a Role
Assess what their strengths are and assign this person to a special niche or task within the team – something that they can do successfully. Affirm their strengths while at the same time emphasizing the importance of their role within the greater context of the team.
While loners might be on a different wavelength than their coworkers, they might still respond to explanations that their behavior is causing a negative environment in the office and creating ill will. Talk to them about how some changes might move the person back within the group, reduce bad feelings, and eliminate that me-versus-them atmosphere that they might be professing to suffer from.
It might be best just to lay out the reality of the situation. Affirm that the person has great experience, valuable skills, and might have even served the business for a time, but make it clear that the expectation is that they need to work with other people in the office. Everyone, without exception, might need to work together and embrace a collaborative mentality for the success of the whole business. If nothing else, they might respond to the fact that their job will be in jeopardy if they cannot work within a corporate culture of teamwork.
Dealing with a loner can put an employer between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they might be good at what they do, and their experience and skills might be hard to replace. But a negative environment does not foster success, and teamwork might be crucial to the fruition of some projects. Consider ways to be firm with the person, while still making it clear that you value what they have to offer.