character, effectiveness, Pausing, Teamwork

Work with anybody? – probably not

In our working lives – whether paid or volunteer – we often make the assumption that we can work with anyone. It is seldom true. Business Week in a recent edition talked about three people that we would be better not to align ourselves with. You can’t always get what you want in the work place. So perhaps the best way to get rid of these folks is to banish them from our our own behaviour and attitudes.

First is the Victim. Why me? we say. The truth is some things we bring upon ourselves by our own behaviour. Other times we become involved in the behaviour of others that causes us harm – a traffic accident is a good example. How we respond to the things that happen, both good and bad, will go a long way to determining how useful we are to the others in the group.

Then there is the non-believer. Sometimes what we are asked to do isn’t our own first choice. So we systematically sabotage the action by openly or covertly doing everything we can NOT to make it happen. Staying in beginner’s mind, being open, letting others take the lead is something we find it almost impossible to do. We need to try.

The know-it-all is an arrogant combination of the other two. Taking on that role is often a defense against our real fear of going into the unknown. We protect ourselves by relying on what worked in the past, on our academic credentials and theories, on our need to stay in the same place.

We generally don’t like these folks a lot when we have to work along side them. So occasionally we need to look in the mirror to see if we ourselves are wearing one of these labels.