We have such a great team……really?
One of my co-workers came to me recently and asked me if I thought she was doing her job well. I inquired more about where she was going with this and she proceeded to tell me that another co-worker had approached her and explained that two other members of our team had been talking about her and how she'd dropped the ball on a task she had been assigned. She explained how upsetting this was to her and that she wished the co-workers would have come directly to her if they had a problem rather than have a discussion amongst themselves.
I listened and complimented her on wanting to hold them accountable for their behaviors and then asked her directly if she'd indeed “dropped the ball”. After
To her surprise, I agreed that she had dropped the ball and they were right. She looked at me a little injured with that reply. She'd come to me to validate her feelings of being hurt by the fact they were talking about her behind her back. I proceeded to explain to her that she needed to own what was hers to own, no fault, no blame, no guilt. Just an opportunity to look back and go forward in order to do better next time. But what about the backbiting co-workers?
I asked my friend if she said anything to the so-called well-meaning information sharer about what her role was in the conversation. Did she participate? Did she stand by and watch the conversation happen? Or did she intervene and stop the conversation by pointing out that the person they were talking about wasn't there and offer to go get her?
My co-worker admitted that she was so upset upon hearing about the incident that she wasn't focused on the person who told her of the event. Why should she be, wasn't that co-worker just trying to help? Not if she kept her mouth shut and allowed the conversation to happen.
We all say we want a good team and that teamwork is important. We talk about how we've got to work together to accomplish goals and meet our customer's objectives, but why? If we all just did our job wouldn't we meet our customer's objectives? I do my stuff, you do yours,
Working as a team makes us happy. We are social beings. Dependence on and cooperation with each other enhanced our ability to survive under harsh environmental circumstances for our ancestors. Although the survival threats of these circumstances have lessened in today’s world, people continue to have a need to affiliate with others and what better place than where we work to do that.
So, what makes a team? A team is created when each member of the team embraces the ideal of personal responsibility for a positive environment and they hold each other accountable for it. They call each other out on their bad behaviors. They don't participate in gossip and they intervene by offering to go get the person who is being talked about that isn't present. They take full ownership for their work environment, even when it's hard to do it. That is what a real team looks like.
My co-worker and I ended the conversation much different than it started. She owned what she needed to own. She agreed that approaching with that mindset will change the conversation she has with her other co-workers about the event. She agreed to get over the anger and the guilt and take personal responsibility for her reality. She owned that all she had control over was to model this behavior for others. She immediately acknowledged how this reduced her stress. She understood what it meant to be a real team.
Personal responsibility and accountability are magic. The end.