Foster a TEAM Attitude and Culture

What happens when you are part of a team, but are excluded from giving input or receiving information? The team ultimately fails. It is not that easy to foster a team culture- and sadly, human nature is at the heart of the problem.

We all have opinions on how things should be done and what we should do to succeed. Those who are like-minded tend to bond together; it is very satisfying to have your opinion validated by others. We all want to be “right.” Those who do not share our views are often shut out—and they form their own exclusive group(s)—with people who are like-minded. These splintered factions fuel their own agendas by the notion that others are “against them.” They build passion for their cause when there is a common “enemy.” It is so sad when people fabricate this “us against them” mentality.  Unfortunately, what ensues are closed-door meetings, which leave the other group(s) understandably suspicious. If there was ever any trust, it erodes. Respect for each other goes by the wayside. Even worse, communication with all team members starts getting very selective and may even stop. Does this sound familiar?

This happens in teams of every size unless you can all foster a culture of openness and finding common ground first—in order to move forward, which should be everyone’s goal. There must be open discourse and an agreement to disagree. Ground rules for the team must include sharing everyone’s ideas and ultimately working together to progress. Respect for each other must be maintained; if we devolve into name-calling that just fuels more division. What is the point of that?

Some say we need to be “adults” about this, but children are often better at collaborating than adults. So maybe we should think about what it was like to be a child and not have any preconceived notions about each other. Don’t shut doors, but be open to learning new things.  If everyone on your team felt this way, you’d be way ahead of the curve.

Has Business Etiquette Been Left in the Dust?

Technology has certainly changed the speed and the way we do business. We no longer have to wait for the mail to arrive –or even to receive a fax. Proposals and contracts are sent and signed electronically at dizzying speed. However, with all this time efficiency, common courtesy has suffered, because we don’t have to meet face to face. Anonymity and speed have undermined the need to build relationships. Whatever happened to just being courteous and “nice?”  

There are many examples of a plain lack of common courtesy, but the number one irritation that nearly everyone has experienced at some point: you receive a phone call for information – this could be from a potential customer or a co-worker. They want it immediately. You rearrange your schedule so that you can get it done in the time requested. You follow-up to make sure the information was received. Then—you never hear from them again—even after several emails and phone calls. Nothing. It would be “nice” just to have them acknowledge or say “thanks, but no thanks.” There really isn’t an excuse. It takes seconds to email a short but “nice” reply.

Some think that in business you don’t have to be nice. But consider that all businesses are owned and operated by people, and we are all human. We all have feelings. If you treat someone poorly, what will happen the next time you need their help? Why gamble with thinking you will never see or need them again. It’s a small world. It does not take much to be courteous. If you’re a manager or team leader, set a good example for those who follow you: Do the right thing and be courteous in business as well as your personal life. You’ll never regret it.