The word “teamwork” has been defined for me a couple of times before – by a dictionary, by a college professor who talked to the class about how to handle meetings, by our student council chairman who wanted everyone, regardless of which political party each of us came from, to work towards achieving the same goal. The list can go on.
I have been working with a team for the past three weeks. And just to give you a background of what the team looks like, we are a weird mix of leaders from different parts of the country – with totally different personalities; who hold on to different sets of values; and who each have our way of doing things – put together to meet a certain goal: To plan an outreach event. This is an account of what happened, so far.
We started off with meetings that can be described with one word – chaos. On the first day we came together to plan for the event, we all failed to recognize the authority of the designated leader so almost everyone was on the board at one point, presenting and defending ideas.
By the end of the first meeting, we succeeded at constantly reminding ourselves that we needed to allow our leader to set the pace and actually lead the team.
While were able to recognize that failure, we spent the following planning sessions trying to coerce everyone to adhere to each of what we tried so hard to come across as a suggestion but is really an idea that we were already sold out from the beginning.
Artificial harmony began to set in. And for a time, some of us began to harbor offenses against each other. We kept on meeting, trying to make ourselves believe that we were okay. But instead of meeting our goals, we were accomplishing very little.
While we tried ever so hard to win our individual battles, fighting for our personal ideas, wanting to win for our personal gain, we drew farther and farther from our win.
It was not until we allowed ourselves to fail that we began to feel that we were heading the right direction.
Simply put: As individuals, failing was our best option so we can start winning as a team.