How to Keep Your Team Goals on Track
Collaboration Is the Remedy for Polarization

Self-serving team member
As a team member, you share responsibility for the success of your team.

If your team meetings are boring or wasting your time, explain the problem from your point of view. Then do a reality test. Do others feel the same way? If they do, there is a team issue, and by putting it on the table you have given your team an opportunity to discuss and solve the problem.

If no one else is having a similar experience, it might be an issue of your own temperament. When you identify in a non-judgmental way what is difficult for you, your team is likely to be willing to make changes. They may even come up with some creative solutions you hadn’t thought of.

For example…

… If the problem is that you get distracted easily, team members might find some fun ways to help you refocus when that happens. 

… If the problem is that it’s hard to sit still for long meetings, they might be willing to take breaks or perhaps you could stand up when you feel the need.

… Other times you might decide you need to tough it out because the team needs your active participation. But at least by having shared what’s hard for you, your team members will understand what’s going on for you, appreciate your efforts and not misinterpret them.

These are all examples of how serving yourself is also serving your team. They all involve:

  • Stating the truth of your experience in a non-judgmental way.
  • Reality testing – checking to see if others are having the same experience.
  • Openness to understanding other’s experiences, needs and ideas.
  • Seeking a solution that meets your needs without impeding your team’s ability to work together effectively.

6 self-serving behaviors that hurt your team:

  1. Hostility: Being aggressive, criticizing, or blaming toward other team members, the team leader or the team in general.
  2. Blocking: Rejecting ideas outright without considering them, arguing a point too long, or going off on a tangential topic.
  3. Competing: Trying to be the one with the best ideas, interrupting people, self-promoting, attention-seeking or talking the most.
  4. Lobbying: Pushing your own agenda or pet concern.
  5. Clowning around: At the right time, levity and laughter can lighten the conversation and make team meetings more fun, but it can also disrupt the work. Timing is important. Are your jokes helping the team or hindering them?
  6. Withdrawing: Acting indifferent, texting, doing unrelated work, daydreaming, or having side conversations.
  7. Passivity: Showing up at meetings unprepared, without having read materials that were sent ahead of time, showing up late, leaving early.

If you’re not happy with the way your team is working, instead of engaging in these self-serving behaviors, serve your team by non-judgmentally putting your concerns on the table.

If one of your team members engages in self-serving behaviors, it’s difficult to work around it. Most of us are guilty of some of these at one point or another. Everyone has a bad day sometimes. But ignoring an ongoing pattern of these behaviors will eventually torpedo the effectiveness of your team.


How to Keep Your Team Goals on Track
Collaboration Is the Remedy for Polarization

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