Our family is pretty big NFL fans. We love the Colts due to 18 years of living in Indiana. Have you seen the gesture athletes sometimes do after they make a touchdown or big tackle? They pretend to pull their shirt open as if to display their superman suit beneath their uniform.
Sometimes I act like I don’t need a team. Why do I do it? I guess I get in a hurry and want it done right away. I get excited. I get inspired. I figuratively rip open my shirt and act like I am the only member on my team.
I try to fool myself. I say that I can figure it out on my own. I say I can be more flexible and responsive on my own. I can work some extra hours after the kids are in bed or put in more focused effort. I say if I don’t do it no one will. I say others are too busy. When I put that together with my self imposed sense of urgency I have the perfect plan for failure or mediocrity.
When I fail to utilize the team I neglect to build interest and enthusiasm. I fail to draw upon the talents and gifts of my team members. I fail to be patient and give those around me time to join me in my vision. I miss out on a better vision or plan because I lack the input of others.
In order to utilize my team I must share ideas and plans and ask others what they think. I have to respect the views of others enough to hear their concerns, reservations and affirmation.
But…. I don’t have time!
Another reason I failed to build and rely on a team is because I didn’t take the time. In the back of my mind maybe I didn’t think people would agree with me. It takes time to build a team and I didn’t want to wait. I egotistically thought I knew what was best no matter what others thought. I failed to have a humble heart and ask for help.
That humble thing… it is way different than the superman shirt rip and … not nearly as much fun! People might not like my ideas… and they might be right in not liking them! What if I can’t convince them? I will have to change my plans. That isn’t always fun for me.
I can’t tell you I’ve overcome this tendency to be a team of one, but I hope I am getting better. I must:
- listen better
- have more patience
- hold my agenda or vision more loosely
- hear the perspective of others
- ask people to join me
- communicate my ideas clearly
- respect and deal with the problems, fears and concerns of the team
- let others help me
When I do these things I am a better person and leader. I also have a stronger team when I use and value the gifts, wisdom and insight of my team!
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