I seldom work in groups, but when I do I take personal responsibility for my actions and I offer that other people do the same. I accept that I cannot tell them what to do or to choose how they should behave but I say what I need to work in the group and commit that I will also act on these standards.
To work well in a team, whether as a leader or a follower I need a few things for the dynamic to work well for me.
First I need to work with adults. We may not all have the same level of competence or intelligence but I expect that we will be adult and treat each other as adults as we do our work. It means that we can have a conversation regardless of how difficult it is, we can disagree without attacking each other and not take things personally when they go or do not go our way.
I assume that the other persons are all operating from a place of good intention. This means that if the person says or does something that I have a reaction to that I need to check on why I have that reaction, since the person in doing his/her best. This also slows down my reaction and forces me to have another view of the other person’s behaviour. It also pushes me to find other assumptions that are more positive about them.
We have a shared vision to achieve the outcomes of the work. This helps me to assume that all behaviour is with good intention to get to the shared purpose. It makes it easy to forgive, to understand and to work with others to get to the shared outcome.
When I have a problem with anyone in the group, I make contact with that person and tell them what offends me and how I want to be treated. If I do not understand the persons behaviour I ask “What do you mean?” to check that my assumptions are true. I have seen the problems that discussing their behaviour with other members brings for me.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If some one says To-Mah-Toe and the other Tuh-May-Toe, then I know that they are saying the same thing and can move on swiftly to what is really important to the discussion. It adds no value to correct the person because they have a different pronunciation. As long as we have a common understanding of the issue we can ignore the semantics.
These are bits of what makes team work easier for me and they more or less work. Everyone may not commit to the ideas at the same time, but when they do the results are magical.
In my new Book “Lead Your Team To Win” I share other assumptions I make when working with a team.
What assumptions do you make when working with a team? How do they work for you?