“You add value to people when you value them.”
In a typical assessment of behavior, issues are covered top to bottom. By level of importance, we cover the least to the most in order to emphasize what matters more. But when it comes to supporting each other in the workplace, we must start from the bottom, for the foundation for a cooperative team starts on day one. When you start anew, whether it’s on a project, a different role, or a completely different job altogether, it is vitally important to understand the visions of the team. All day long you can say you’re working as hard as you can and that you’re doing your best, but it is common sense that a team is only as strong as its weakest link. It is essential to start by assessing: are we holding each other to the highest standards?
This certainly doesn’t mean that people of different walks and roles should all be held to the same standard. That would be a guarantee of failure. While we all work together toward the same goals, we must embrace our individual work ethics and behaviors to support each other’s success. If the goal is so far-fetched and only applies to those with the strongest presence or achievements, others are bound to feel ignored and undermined. It is of the utmost importance that from the very beginning, expectations of the individual and team are made very clear and that they are appreciated as a whole. Sure, a bottle rocket is cheap and easy and can go to the sky, but imagine the height of achievement of a machine that places the same significance on a solar panel as it does the engine. To infinity and beyond.
When we pay attention to ourselves as details of something bigger, it is quickly realized that the only way to get anything done is through cooperation. If we focus on how well our job is done alone – our own personal agenda – it is unlikely that it will be functional with another’s. Departments of the same company should never compete with another department, just as one individual of a company should never feel the need to compete with another. This mentality slows down progress. We are a part of one mission to make our company outstanding in this industry.
To initiate and enable teamwork is to constantly adjust your attitude toward the common goal. Respecting your own work as much as your neighbor’s means holding each other accountable. In a demanding environment, positive attitudes seem impractical. Workplace cynicism is all too common – to believe that everyone works out of pure self-interest. I mean, we all want everyone to be comfortable and trust that the job is getting done. However, if you realize that someone is too self-interested too late, you could suffer serious consequences and even losses. This is why “clean-ups” are so important. Not handling performance issues is a total failure to be for each other. Admitting you’re upset or unsatisfied can be extremely uncomfortable because there’s some stigma of weakness for not being able to “deal with it.” But failure to acknowledge the problem allows it to linger. Before you know it, you are treating and identifying someone by their worst work ethic. Naturally, you’re bound to go to someone and vent, but do not be mistaken – this absolutely counts as gossip. Catch yourself and confront the problem. Chances are, the perpetrator is completely unaware of their wrongdoings or has been hiding behind them. Talking trash is honestly an act of self-importance in itself, because you are only focusing on your own feelings. You have lost sight of the cooperative vision.
“When your feet slip, you can always recover your balance but when your tongue slips, you cannot recover your words.”
Normalize confrontation as constructive criticism. Encouragement validates everyone. It can and must come from everywhere, not just our leaders. It must be clear that we aren’t competing against or judging one another. Make your faith in each other as well-known as your name. Trusting another means you are trusted too, and when the feeling of accountability is acknowledged, we suddenly realize the importance of our role in the objective, no matter our title or designation.
Started from the bottom – a foundation of trust in our unique abilities to achieve – now we’re here: on the same road to success, with no filters of intention or fear of failure. It is our collective responsibility to be for each other. Supporting each other for the sake of success means embracing one single vision as our own. When a company places importance on reinforcing each other’s efforts through thick and thin, we really do trust that we are all in this together. Working in harmony multiplies our level of success, because not only does it bring the vision to life, it enables our pride in ourselves.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”