Focusing on What Unites Us
I recently came across a positive tip from Jon Gordon titled “The Cure for What Divides Us”. In the article, Jon discusses that even though our country has faced great division in the past several months, with differences based on opinions, political views, color, hate and anger, he felt that love would still find a way to overcome the hate and division.
We at Future Legacy believe that fear is an underlying cause of conflict, distrust, disconnectedness. People look OUTSIDE of themselves where they see political and ideological differences, and they can descend into "us" versus "them" thinking. This leads to a feeling of separateness which leads to division. It can be very easy to listen to the news, social media, and individuals polarizing our society right now. These fears, feelings, and perceptions of separation can also be carried into the workplace. So today, I am going to focus on the INSIDE – specifically what unites people and teams.
For many teams, success is tied to individuals performing at a high level in their designated roles which can lead to working in silos and even disfunction. Therefore, it is important to recognize what unifies a team of professionals. Here are four ways successful teams build unity and prevent discord:
1. Trust each other
This can be one of the most challenging things for teams to do. It takes time to build trust, and it can be broken in an instant. As a leader, take time to get to really know your employees - their hobbies, families, interests, values, work experiences, hopes and stressors, etc. Share stories and engage on a level beyond just the professional and encourage others to do the same. Understanding and empathy is built when individuals take time to get to know each other, and it is a powerful tool in creating trust.
2. Engage in healthy conflict
Conflict is often seen as a negative thing, but it is natural that people have differing opinions. Everyone forms unique perspectives based on their history and experiences. As long as a team remembers to communicate with honesty and respect, conflict can be a healthy necessity to help teams grow. It opens the possibilities to better, more creative solutions and ultimately makes your team stronger.
3. Commit to decisions
Commitment can be tough, especially considering that committing to pretty much anything can almost be impossible with things constantly changing. But commitment demonstrates strength and confidence. Reflect on what works for your team, develop a plan, and stick to it. Just remember to leave room for flexibility, making sure to communicate the “why” when things do need to change.
4. Focusing on achieving collective results
When teams start recognizing group accomplishments over personal accomplishments, transformational things happen. Encouraging and recognizing group achievements is one of the most powerful tools a leader can use.
Focusing on what unites us rather than what separates us is so important, especially in today’s current climate. Start with the INSIDE and watch your team transform!
Wishing you a successful year,