One of the most challenging parts of being a good teammate is knowing when to sacrifice yourself for the highest good of the group. It can seem productive to frequently shy away from giving your …
One of the most challenging parts of being a good teammate is knowing when to sacrifice yourself for the highest good of the group. It can seem productive to frequently shy away from giving your opinion, asking for what you need, and standing up for yourself. We often believe that if we are flexible, it’ll be better for everyone else. While this can be true sometimes, it typically causes more harm than good to not only ourselves, but to those around us.
One of my current clients is a business that is looking to make their team of sales brokers more effective and efficient in their roles while improving company culture, team communication, and lifestyle balance for each employee. After doing research with the team, I found that the employees work really well together, or so it seems.
They are always going out of their way to help one another, will sacrifice their current project to help a teammate get theirs done instead, and are very passive with management about what they need to do their job even better. It seems counterintuitive that a team that is so giving to others would have so much room for improvement.
I’ve noticed this phenomenon with my sports teams as well. Especially when coaching girls, it’s very common to see them stand back, put others first, and wait for someone else to be the leader. While this can feel like it’s what’s best for the group, it actually holds the entire group back. Each member of a team has their own strengths and weaknesses and special skills they bring to the table. It is when we each maximize and optimize our own skill sets that we are able to truly do what’s in the highest good of the group, and in turn, ourselves.
Owning our part in a group can be very challenging, especially when we are used to sacrificing ourselves. We must learn to take full responsibility for ourselves, the situations we find ourselves in, and our actions. I call this practice radical responsibility, and it goes hand in hand with the topic of radical honesty. Radical responsibility allows us to take full ownership of how we show up in the group, what we contribute, and to the results and success of ourselves and the team.
When we make decisions for ourselves, especially when asked what we want, we are more likely to be able to perform at our highest level and allow those around us to do the same. It is when we shy away from radical responsibility and self-advocacy that we take the burden of success off of ourselves and add that burden and pressure to the rest of the team.
Taking radical responsibility for ourselves is not an easy task. It’s challenging to switch from always helping others and taking responsibility for their needs to trusting that taking responsibility for our needs will help everyone else too.
If any of the examples above sound like you, it’s time to reevaluate how you’re showing up for your team, whether it’s a sports team, your work team, or your family. Consider how you can take responsibility to advocate for yourself, get what you need, and do your own job well in a way that will set everyone else up for success around you.
The success of the team will grow when you take responsibility for the success of yourself.
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