Are you kidding yourself that you’re a team player?

Are you the great team player you think you are? Check out this article to see whether collaboration comes naturally to you. If not, there are 5 things you can do about it.

The big question is; are human beings naturally team players?

When you think about the following, it’s not obvious:

  1. Watching children play, it looks like girls are but boys aren’t.
  2. Listening to a live orchestra – that’s a yes.
  3. Focusing on what’s happening in the media, and thinking that human beings are a generally aggressive, violent and selfish bunch – that’s a ‘no’ then.
  4. Watching crowds at football matches – collaboration extends as far as tribal borders. So yes and no.
  5. Looking at the amount of resources that are put into keeping human beings in check – the police, security, laws, walls, borders, military, – and concluding that we cannot be trusted to be collaborative.

Most people say they are team players. But the crux of the matter is like you, they probably don’t think they’re the problem. You can be trusted to be collaborative (most of the time) – but everyone else can’t!

Your behaviour will be inconsistent for two reasons:

  1. It depends on the circumstances
  2. You will choose in every circumstance whether or not to collaborate

So, if you want to be a genuine team player consider the following:

  1. Any situation you are considering is just your version of the situation. Everyone else around the table will have their own version of this. This is more about perception than the hard facts and a universal truth. Imagine a big dice in the middle of the table. Depending on where you sit, you will all see a different number on the dice – and all of you are right.
  2. Start by understanding your perception and then enable others to understand theirs.
  3. Make sure you hear people out.
  4. Think very hard about whether you personally are looking for an outcome that is win/lose or win/win.
  5. Examine your own position honestly. What’s going on in your head? What puts you on the defensive? What gets in the way of your collaborating with your colleagues?

It all starts with you – your perceptions and your default behaviour. If you’d like to know more about how this gets in the way of you being a true collaborator, click on the link below:

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