To Team or Not To Team That is the Question

A lot can be achieved when you work in a team. Yey!

That’s what I say to people I manage when I’m on a mission and often that’s the best way to do it because the skills required to accomplish something is distributed to all the member of the project and there’s no one person that has it all and do it.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
Helen Keller

But why am I asking the question : to team or not to team?

As much as I wanted to have everybody involved, sometimes too many hands spoils the broth and I don’t get the satisfaction or the expectations I want from the project. But then I also have to make sure I don’t leave anyone behind right?

So what did I do?

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
Phil Jackson

I find the right person for the job and give each one of them opportunity to excel in the abilities they have. To give everyone opportunity to develop in the job and hopefully be the person to replace any expat position in the future. 

I challenged everyone to think outside the box and put themselves in my shoes. Often enough, which much goading, my staff come up with sensible ideas that otherwise won’t be said or known. When that happens they own the idea and worked happily completing the task. 

But I also have those people who are happy to do nothing or to complain without offering anything constructive. It’s their mission to test you and let you bleed dry and they won’t budge. So I let them be in the end when the work is done and everybody is happy (I am happy) they won’t feel the satisfaction others feel being part of the team. Their loss not mine. 

I don’t expect people to be perfect, I am not myself. In fact, who is perfect anyway? Nobody is.

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

What I do expect is an open mind and an acceptance that they don’t know everything. Like I don’t know everything myself. That working together is a mutual undertaking that requires mutual respect and understanding to get the work done. Standards are made to be flexible and I learned that over the years working in development – that you don’t get everything in one go, you have to keep trying to get things done the way it should be done.

When I signed up for this job and chose this as my career path I accepted that it would not be easy. It’s told to you early on —

“willingness to work under pressure”

“willing to work in team and in diverse situation” 

“can work independently – does not require supervision”

among other requirements when working in difficult situation and in places where you cannot expect to be similar to where one came from.

There are days when I let off some steam. It’s a natural progression of work life in development — you get to do what you want in your own terms and when you can’t get what you want you cannot take it on your staff (of course!) you just have to be creative and more often than not, complain 🙂

“You could at least complain,” I say. “I adore complaining. It calms the nerves.”
Franny Billingsley, Chime

The least you can do and it’s good to find people willing to listen to you complain and don’t judge you at the same time — which is not very easy to find.

But in the end, all good projects are achieved by working together, so I go for the “to TEAM”.

No one person can do everything for their organization – it’s a team effort all the time.   I tend to keep pushing myself to do better next time and trying hard to keep the team working as a “team” in spite of the bumps we meet along the way – yeah, we do have lots of those believe me! (I can list them all here but that would be me complaining ha ha).  And that’s the beauty with working in development – regardless of what the book says about individualism and collectivism, when in this kind of business you forget about yourself and you start to think more about the other person you’re working with knowing that you’re helping this person to be “you” someday.

You become a We and Us in the end.

It is good to rub, and polish our brain against that of others.
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-1592, French Renaissance philosopher and writer)

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”



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