Why Some Teams Will Never Excel
Some lessons hit me like a ton of bricks…in a good way! This is one of them…
Early in my leadership journey, I was always eager to be creating harmony in the workplace – a culture of cooperation, respect, hard work, and camaraderie in the teams I led.
After all, this was my responsibility, and I took it seriously.
Some teams worked together so easily, and it was amazing to be a part of that experience. However, I faced situations in other teams where two or more people on my team did not get along even with my very best efforts – even with gentle or stern talks, even with team building activities, or creating a fun environment – and that hampered the effectiveness of the team.
And I always blamed myself for that. After all this was my team, and if people did not work together and connect well, my team was suboptimal – I was to blame. I was on the hot seat.
Can you relate?
Then, I made this simple discovery that helped me process this failure and move past it. I read somewhere that the job of a leader is to create coordination of efforts in a spirit of harmony.
And… that some people simply cannot be “harmonized.”
(You know that spirit of harmony and connection that you feel – sometimes instantly – when you are around certain people?)
“Cannot?” I refused to accept that. I was a firm believer in the ability of people to grow (and I still am). “I will inspire them and love them so much that they will transcend their inability to work in a spirit of harmony. They will want to do it for the team. If not, they will do it for my sake,” I thought.
Sometimes this worked, and sometimes it just did not. After more time passed, thinking, writing, praying, leading, failing, and trying – I surrendered…
Some people just cannot be harmonized.
But be careful here…this is not an excuse for us as leaders to throw in the towel and not work to encourage, cajole, or even to push people to learn to connect and get along. Creating harmony in the workplace requires a positive, uplifting culture that brings out the best in people.
I recently was interviewing CPA’s to help me with my taxes. I met several…all very nice, very professional, and very capable. But I only “connected” with one. Something felt right. I felt like I could be more of myself. I can joke around with him, and I can let my guard down. I hired him.
It is this same concept in leadership and in life – and in building an amazing team.
- People will not interact in harmony with everyone.
- When forming a team choose people that you have a natural harmony with.
- Choose team members that have harmony between each other.
- Then, work your hardest to help people form a team that is bathed in love, camaraderie, and self-sacrifice – model it.
- If you find yourself with people who cannot interact with harmony after intentional time and effort to bring them together (I usually give ourselves a few months), I encourage you to move on. (ie: Move them away from each other asap.)
Your ability to form a world-class team will determine the success of your leadership!
I encourage you to move on from blaming yourself and pushing others to “love” each other when it becomes clear that harmony is not achievable.
And my hat’s off to you! Hang in there…leadership is hard work!
In the process always remember to hold sacred people’s dignity and humanity.
PS – If you believe this blog may benefit someone you know, please consider sharing.