Arita Franklin (original from Otis Reading by the way) sang it in her famous song. Find out what it means to me. For me respect is a prerequisite. We should appreciate every other (human) being as equal and value them for who they are. Not necessary for what they do, but we’ll get back to that.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
I’m from the Netherlands. The first article of our constitution states that all people should be treated equally. It’s also in the American constitution and it is the first article of the universal declaration of human rights. All forms of discrimination, wether based on sex, race, religion or opinion are wrong and create toxic environments.
So everyone should be valued for who they are, but that doesn’t mean all behaviour can and should be tolerated. When needed you provide feedback. That way you provide someone with the possibility to improve, to learn, to grow. There’s no greater gift. But in order to accept feedback you need a foundation. A foundation of trust.
It’s starts with trust
I’m a big fan of the work of Patrick Lencioni. If you’re not familiar with him: he writes business fabels. Stories that share a lesson to be applied in the business world. His most famous book is ‘The five dysfunctions of a team’. In this book he describes the 5 fundamental causes of failing teams. This is summarized in what is now known as the Lencioni Pyramid:
The idea is that each layer builds upon the underlying one. The end goal, of course, is to achieve the desired outcome. The bottom layer of the pyramid describes the absence of trust. Trust in this case means that you can say whatever you feel without fear that it will be held against you at some point in time. To create psychological safety. When you feel safe you’re more confident to take risk, to experiment, to ask for help. It will lead to better results.
How do you create trust? As a leader you should give the right example. Be vulnerable. Open up. Show you care about others. Mean it and do it consitently.
Brothers and sisters
In the military co-workers are often reffered to as brother or sister. Especially within ‘elite’ units, where the official hierarchy often is put aside. Brothers and sisters will fight, but their love remains. Brothers and sisters will disagree, but won’t (intentionally) hurt each other. Brothers and sisters will be there for each other when the need arises. And if working together brothers and sisters will achieve awesome results. And all without ranking.
“For he today who sheds his blood with me, he is my brother.”
– Henry V, William Shakespeare
I do believe we as humans need leaders though. Originally this was the role of the Alpha Male. He was given the role of leader, because when needed he would defend his tribe. Possibly at his own expense. That was the cost of being the leader. Nowadays our tribe usualy doesn’t need protection from wild animals or enemy tribes. But the thing that put alpha males originaly in their leadership role is stil needed: provide safety. This is what family means to me.
When a group of people are put together to work together they are just that: a group. Coincedentally tasked with the same objective. When put together in a group there is an intersting process starting which is called group development. Tuckman desribes this in his 4 (or 5) phases model: forming, storming, norming and performing. After the forming has been done the group will start to sort itself. The storming phase. Conflict may arise, but at some point shared values are found. This is when you can talk about a team. The norming phase. Some teams don’t get passed this phase, but teams who do will find that everyone is committed, takes accountability and is alligned to the same goal. This is when teams become family.
Note: everytime you change the team composition the team will go through all phases starting at forming. Depending on the impact of the changes this might take more or less time, but as the team composition changes the group development process needs to be repeated.
Obviously you don’t get to choose your ‘real’ family. We will spend a significant amount of time working. So we better make sure we enjoy what we do and who we do that with. People who are driven by the same purpose and values. People that care about you. People who will make you better. People who will sacrifice for the greater good. That are the people I love and who I love to work with.
I can help you create an environment where groups can become teams and teams can become families. Check out my services or contact me for more information!