Your team needs you.
I'm not talking about your experience, your talent, your perspective or your education. I'm talking about you. That's what they really need. In the workplace, we tend to sanitize our input and restrain our contributions. We do it in the name of professionalism. We do it because it's implied that we should conform, that we should "go along to get along."
There are times when holding back is appropriate, especially if what you're holding back is a purely emotional response. But that doesn't mean you should hold back at all times. It means, instead, that you should be selective about when and how and to whom you express yourself.
Habitually holding back makes you miserable and causes you to feel disenfranchised. You can't contribute if you're feeling that way. In fact, you may be doing more harm than good if your "professionalism" is leading to bitterness and burnout.
If you want to contribute to your team and feel better about the work you do, put YOU back into the equation.
Your Team Needs You to Bring It All.
When you set aside your opinions or questions, your team is compromised. What if no one else asks those questions or offers that unique point of view? What if the question you didn't ask is the one that would have saved the team from making a mistake?
There's a condition known as group think. It happens when teams are too eager to agree. By acquiescing to the group, individuals feel they are making the team's work easier. On the contrary, they are often robbing the team of a valuable perspective.
Your input comes from who you are. Don't sideline part of yourself in an effort to please the team. Bring it all, even your emotion and unpopular opinions. Be appropriate and respectful in how you offer them, but don't hold back. Your value to the team comes from being you.
Your Team Needs You to Disagree.
Avoiding group think and hasty decisions requires you to voice your concerns or dissension. When you don't fully agree, say so. Explain what you're thinking.
Others may convince you to see their way. That's okay because you've given them an opportunity to practice how this decision will be positioned outside the team. No harm, no foul.
On the other hand, you may convince them to see it your way. If so, good thing you didn't hold back!
The objective, by the way, of disagreeing is not to compete and go for a win. It's to enrich the discussion and draw out all perspectives. This is healthy for teams.
Your Team Needs You to Be You.
Authenticity is about being real. If you have a real question, ask it. If you have a real concern, voice it. If you don't understand, say so.
All too often, we buy into the "fake it 'til you make it" way of doing things. Don't. It doesn't serve you or your team well when you attempt to be less than what you really are.
Teams benefit when people admit that they don't understand something. It means that there is a lack of clarity, not that you are deficient in some way. If you are pretending to keep up with the team, then you're contributing to the team's eventual "moment of truth" when the efforts collapse due to others' inability to understand.
Your team needs you. You need you. Don't leave yourself out.
Next Steps for Contributing to Your Team:
- Subscribe to the CONNECT2Win Blog RSS feed if you’d like to receive new posts each Friday to help strengthen your team.
- Download this free eBook “What Is Team Effectiveness & How Can We Get Some for Our Team? Stat!”
- Learn more about the options available to help you enable and ennoble your team. Book a free consultation with Deb. No cost, no obligation.
Deb Calvert is President of People First Productivity Solutions, the company that helps you build organizational strength by putting people first. Book Deb today to speak at your leadership or team events, to conduct MBTI workshops to improve team effectiveness, or to work with you as your Executive Coach.