As I said in my post on Combining Functions, a team gets far more done than a group of individuals does, if you can develop a culture and a way of working where the challenging/inspiring interactions between the teammates' brains gives you more than simply the sum of the brains involved, where you get a kind of multiplicative effect between the members of the team.
So how do you build a culture that achieves that kind of effect? By practicing collegiality.
Be civil - People can’t work together effectively if they don’t respect each other and treat each other with mutual respect. People are not computers. The deep and incomprehensibly complex emotional layer we all carry around can be a powerful positive tool when channeled as passion, but it is tricky and needs to be handled with care. A critical part of working together effectively is having empathy for others and understanding that how you communicate is just as important as what you communicate. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to challenge each other — you can’t get big hard things done if you shrink away from tough conversations! Appropriately challenging each other is key factor in getting that multiplicative combining function. Just do so with respect and empathy. Likewise, don’t make it hard for others to work with you and to challenge you. Be confident and have a thick skin. Debating an idea with the goal of getting to the best outcome for customers and your company is not personal. Check your ego at the door.
Collaborate - You need to actively engage with each other if you want to get things done together. Be open, let others know what you are thinking and what you know, let them see what you are working on. Be curious and ask questions, get to know your colleagues and try to understand their perspective if it is different from your own. Be hungry to learn from them. Discover, sincerely, what everyone's strengths and weaknesses are and learn how to complement each other. Don’t be afraid to let go, don’t have an overly developed pride of ownership. If the play calls for passing the ball, then pass the ball.
Be reliable - Be someone that others can rely on. If your teammates have hesitation about whether you are going to come through on your part of the puzzle, they will hedge and the result will be sub-optimal. Effective teammates demonstrate responsibility and earn trust through working together. Effective teammates know that when they pass the ball, the receiver will actually catch and run with it. Also, have each other’s back. Be ready to step in and help when you sense a teammate in trouble, but don’t shield them from appropriate consequences — that can reinforce bad habits.
Care - I use caring as a fundamental ingredient in a number of my culture virtues, and that’s because it is so vitally important. You can’t do anything if you don’t care. So, just as you care about your work, your customers, your reputation, etc, you must care about your colleagues. I you don’t care about them, you have no hope of treating them with collegiality.
Have fun! - We don't need to bore ourselves to tears at work. There will of course be up and downs, good days and bad days, tough days and easy days. But overall, the work you do should be enjoyable and it should be enjoyable to work with your teammates. You don't have to be best friends with your colleagues, but it's important to develop a healthy sense of camaraderie in the office and take some time out to play together. It makes your work together better as well as making you happier.
Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark. --Henri-Frédéric Amiel
We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.
--Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Passion is what drives us to get up in the morning every day. It gives us the strength to go above and beyond. It gets us fired up to take on any challenge and accomplish the impossible. Passion comes from a deep belief in the value of what you are doing paired with a deep belief that it is possible to do, no matter how daunting it may look at the outset. I believe that the number one motivator people have is a desire to 'win'. People want to accomplish great things, and they want to be on a winning team. Winning can come in many different forms (visibly delighting customers, winning awards, taking market share, doing good for other people, making the world a better place, making money, doing something considered 'impossible' by most people, driving shareholder value, ...), but that feeling of achievement runs deep in our human nature and passion is both motivator and the fuel for achievement.
Follow your passion — Do things you are passionate about! Life is too short to spend it doing things you are not passionate about. I know this is easier said than done, but it is worth striving for, to the best of your circumstances and ability. Remember that work is life: I believe strongly in a healthy work/non-work balance, but don’t think of work as something ‘other' than life. You spend most of your waking hours at work, so you should consider it a worthwhile way to spend your life. If you are doing something that you are truly not passionate about, you should consider changing, if you can. And remember there are two ways to change what you do: get another job (etc), or change how you do it, so that you can unlock passion in it.
Nurture your passion — Passion needs tending. It can whither and fade if it is not taken care of. Do things that validate and re-energize your passion. For example, when I’m in the office for too long, I can get too inwardly focused and start to feel my spark grow dimmer. Getting out in front of clients, who are the ultimate source of truth in business, always re-energizes me and reminds me why we do what we do.
Share your passion — Passion is infectious. The more you share it with those around you (teammates, customers, ...) the more powerful it becomes as a force for positive change, and frankly the better you feel as you get a positive feedback loop about it from those others. The best leaders are deeply passionate about what they are doing and they infect those around them with their passion. That’s how effective leaders get people willing to walk through walls to see the mission completed. And remember that it only takes 10% of a group believing something for everyone in that group to believe it eventually.
Channel your passion — Passion has a dark side. Don’t let it stray into negativity, blind you, or make you sound shrill. When passion hits a roadblock, it needs to find a way around or through that block. Don’t let it pool up and turn into frustration and eventually something destructive. Never forget to question and challenge yourself and make sure you still believe in your passion and that it is focused on the right things.
Copyright (c) 2016 Crazy Peak LLC