Words like community, team, collaboration, relational, participatory, social – they are all over Twitter, but then when you share these links or comment on these posts, do you get a reply? When you ask people not what they say about social media, but if they are doing social media, how many are building connections and really collaborating?
The truth is that working together is hard.
It’s hard because we grow up today in a such a me-focussed world and live such me-focussed lives that the preference of others and putting others first that is required for team work doesn’t come easily.
Case in point: communication. Every Sunday at church, we have a team who handle the sound, the lighting and the audio/video content. They all link into each other, yet when Sunday comes and they are working together, I was rarely hearing them talk to each other, and as such, the whole Sunday experienced suffered.
Why was this? Because they were used to living in their own minds and focussing on their own angle, that they were almost unaware of the others around who needed their support and communication. Now that I’m teaching them communication and helping them see the need for the big picture and to give of themselves to each other, they are working far more powerfully as a team.
Malcolm Gladwell writes some very interesting stuff about this – particular in the area of focus – in his book Blink (affiliate link.) With focus, we tend to close off what’s going around and zoom in onto one thing. And I think that technology has heightened this ability within us – for good and for bad. Think about the hundreds of millions of knowledge workers who spend all day with computers, not uttering a world as they live inside their head and shift digital paper. What they are getting better at is having a tight focus. What they are getting worse at is looking up.
In order to get on together we need to look up. We need to prefer one another. Valuing the person in front of us. I’m shocked by how much ego I still see – people clamoring for the attention, to give their point of view, to ensure they are heard and that they get the credit. You know what I decided? I’m going to give the credit rather than get the credit.
Your Leading Thoughts
- When did you learn to really work together? What was the time that switch you from being me-focussed to we-focussed?
- If you could give one tip to people that would help them become team players, what would it be?