Working with people in teams can be challenging and exciting. As unique individuals, we bring all of ourselves – including moods, cultural background and our personality traits – to work every day. Then we bump into our co-workers with their own uniqueness and the fun begins!
Sometimes we attribute workplace frustration to the complicated nature of teamwork. When we experience feeling stuck or blocked at work is when we are more likely to engage in behaviors that are focused on relieving our emotional frustration instead of achieving organizational goals. For those of us who are uncomfortable having direct, open and candid conversations it can become a habit to look for workarounds in order to avoid what makes us uncomfortable. One of those workarounds can be to withdraw somewhat from the team and to act unilaterally. This type of short term focused behavior will not help us make progress toward our long term career goals.
Recently I ran across the (reportedly) old African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Regardless of its origin, what a great sentiment!
Do you sometimes “go alone” when reacting to work frustration? Going alone – by prioritizing individual goals, making unilateral decisions and attempting to amass power in order to gain control over one’s situation – can provide the feeling of relief. But is that progress? And if it is, to where?
Sometimes working with others on a team can feel slow. Wouldn’t it be better if we were to “go alone” in pursuit of our goals? After all, a lot of time and effort is involved in building team chemistry and alignment. Don’t be fooled into focusing on short term feelings and frustrations. Instead, choose to be open to the sustaining and fulfilling nature of teams and the positive impact it has on our long term success.
Your career is a long term event. To have a rewarding journey – and to make it fulfilling over a longer time – make sure to go with others. Any short term delays encountered by traveling with others will, over time, reveal themselves to be inconsequential.