I played the role of the village idiot in my team for almost 2 years. It was due to an unique and very unpleasant set of circumstances [outside work, mostly family and health stuff] that totally destroyed my motivation, concentration and even my will to live. Now this might be somewhat different than what the fine article is talking about, as the condition was temporary and everyone knew I could perform above expectation even bordering on excellent.
Nevertheless, only my direct supervisor was aware of all the facts of my case and he never shared them with the MT [because I asked him not to]. Thus for the MT I was a case of lost motivation, reasons unknown. Despite that, considerable effort was executed both on team level as well on MT level to help me out.
More or less the action was as follows:
- Instead of doing long-term project with uncertain result they put me on important but short-term project so I could see the positive effect of my work immediately and boost my self-confidence.
- Every time I did something good, an MT member would drop by the office to congratulate me in front of everyone
- I never heard a single nasty word about me; no-one spoke about my performance and very importantly they all avoided in making me feel patronized. In line of this I did get negative evaluation for one of those years and was punished financially. I wanted this as I was afraid that if I get a "hand-out" I might loose some of the motivation to get better again.
- They send me working part-time to 4 different teams and also contractors outside the company - meeting and working with many new people on very diverse projects really helped getting back on my feet.
- When they saw the recovery progressing really nicely they threw me on the most urgent project in the whole company where I contributed substantially, gained more "fame" than ever before and was rewarded financially offsetting the previous punishment and then adding some to my career growth.
I count all this experience as a resounding success and I have told them many times how grateful I am.
This is Europe and more importantly the Netherlands. As I have stated here before, there is a bunch of neocon-like politicians in NL [alas, they have the power ATM] that are just itching to destroy the management system of the country, more commonly known as the "the polder model".
They claim the model is not profitable but what they mean is that it is not profitable for their corporate friends. Society as whole wins BIG TIME by using that model and it is CHEAPER (again, if you look at the whole country, not a single company or industry). What would be the profit for society if they kicked me out and I spiraled in misery and depression? Would I ever recover? Would I ever get another job? Could it be that I'd turn into complete burden for society, incapable of supporting myself. In such desperation people turn to drugs and suicide becomes a viable way out.
Ohh yhea, I just noticed that I imply in the beginning of the last paragraph that the polder model might not be so profitable if you look at specific business. That is false - the company also wins since if I had not recovered they'd have to spend tens of thousands finding and educating a replacement for me [I did the math, our solution was cheaper indeed than hiring another person]. So, apparently the polder model is not profitable for a very small group of people within companies who probably get their bonuses based on very short-term performance so that the long-term negative effects of fucking your employees is not visible at the moment.