Be Yourself! … but…

It’s not very hard in today’s world to make a name for yourself. The age of internet and social media has created outlets for individual expression never before possible. Want to have a hit music video? No problem. Just lip sync a song and post it on YouTube and watch the views pile up. Want to get noticed? That’s easy. Just take countless selfies and post them on social media every chance you get… Someone will notice. But, as neat as it is to be able to share one’s life digitally and instantly in today’s tech-driven world, it’s hard not to think that all we’ve done is to make it easier for people to say, “hey world, look at me, I’m important!” Now, I’m not a hater. I think technology can be leveraged for great good both economically and socially. However, it also creates an atmosphere for people to be able live like they are in a movie about their own life, where everyone else is just an “extra.”

At its core, this speaks to the selfishness of humanity. I want what I want, and I want it now. This mentality of “me” is the arch enemy of the concept of “we.” In any business or organization, being successful as a team hinges on the ability of individuals in a group to die to self and function productively together. When individual motives begin to shift to the “me” part of the spectrum, the group begins to have parts that are moving in opposite directions. This is where leadership is so critical.

Leaders must be in touch with what is going on inside the teams they are responsible for. They also need to understand that they themselves are selfish people and the teams they lead are made up of selfish people as well. This guarantees that there will be tension and disunity at times. Expect it, but be prepared for it. The key is to deal with these issues promptly before they become much larger issues that threaten the success of the team. Leaders must instill an “others first” mentality in team members. If everyone is thinking about how they can support the other team members, there is no time to think about what is “unfair” or “not right.” The beauty and irony of successful teams is that they are often comprised of members with varying skills and personalities. And while this individuality can make leading and managing difficult at times, when woven together in the context of an unselfish team, it is also what provides the greatest chance of success.

So, leaders, encourage your team members to do the following:

“be yourself… just be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Now, go take a team selfie!

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