Reality Check: Go, Team

Are you part of a team? If you play sports or belong to a work team, then the answer is easily, “Yes.” You might belong to a less formal association, like a community group where people come together with a common goal.
Many of us are in groups that we don’t think of as teams. There’s your family, for example, or your circle of friends. Even our community, county, or province could be considered a team.
What actions and attitudes help a team work together? Conversely, what activities undermine team success?
Let’s play devil’s advocate. Pretend you are a secret agent sent by the opposition. Your role is to demoralize the team. What would you do?
I think I’d start by criticizing team members, both individually and as a group. I might use some labels to suggest that they are selfish, inconsiderate, and not very intelligent.
Complaining and blaming are also great ways to bring people down. It’s even more effective if I nag; continuously repeating my complaints. “Look how badly you’re doing. You are not listening.”
Discouraging is always useful if you want to demotivate: “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but it’s not going to be good. And it’ll probably get worse.”
Another strategy to destroy the team is punishing. “Some of you might be paying attention, but others aren’t. So I’m punishing all of you.”
I could try threatening, “You need to do what I say or I’m going to…” I could add a little bribery to the mix. “If you do what I want, maybe I’ll ease up. No promises, but I might; if you behave.”
To top things off, I would encourage snitching on each other. “Billy, did Bonnie skip practice?” Or, “If you see anything that’s not right—be sure to tell me. I’ll take action.”
That’ll build team spirit, eh?
Whether used by leaders or team members, those “strategies” are reflected in what Dr. Glasser calls the deadly habits for relationships. If you want to get best performance from a team, would you use those behaviours?
What else could you do? According to Glasser, you could listen, support, respect, trust, and negotiate disagreements.
When a personal relationship is threatened by an outside force: death, illness, natural disaster, financial problems, etc. the worst outcome is when people turn against each other. The source of the problem is forgotten as the team points fingers, blames, and criticizes.
As we continue with more days of fear, restriction, and sometimes devastating outcomes from a pandemic that none of us was responsible for causing, we see varied responses.
Sooner or later, we are going to emerge from this very odd time. We will enter a new phase where we will need to work together if we are to once again grow, prosper, and progress. Whether it’s our country, province, or local community, we will need to look at each other as a team, with trustworthy, reliable team members who share goals.
That’s going to be hard to achieve if we emerge with many people feeling distrusted, disrespected, or mistreated, isn’t it? People don’t like being blamed, punished, or bribed.
Whether we are talking about our close relationships, our communities, or our province, do the benefits of using deadly habits outweigh the costs? I don’t think so. Appealing to our better natures, rather than our worst, could be more helpful. What do you think?

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