As I work with teams in many different situations – sports to multinational corporations to companies of all sizes trying to grow – there is a common mantra that once embraced changes the dynamic and potential. The mantra is to openly acknowledge and celebrate the abilities of others, building on what they offer as a foundation to more. As simple and obvious as this might be, many do not get it and even fewer embrace it to the degree that they are willing to demonstrate it.
The natural priority of individuals in a group is to take care of #1, themselves. This translates into reaching for the best (visible) opportunities, talking about one’s contributions, and trying to make sure others notice. Experience reminds me that every step is one that needs to happen in a group and with a project. The steps are not wrong or bad. However, there are lots of questions of timing and who should take the lead to ensure the step occurs.
When a group of individuals looks beyond themselves and individual achievements (even protecting themselves), and focuses on others, everything changes. I recently observed the impact that followed when one person took the act of acknowledgement to heart. In his action, others in the group felt recognized, value, and ultimately empowered! He did not have a formal leadership position. From what I could see, his actions were driven in two ways. He genuinely wanted to formally recognize and express the value he saw in what each person was doing. Additionally, he wanted to contribute in the place others needed him the most.
It worked! I watched as group trust formed, grew, and strengthened as the result of one choice. The ripple that emerged as others mustered courage to do the same could be felt inside the group and watchers like me.
In a new day’s quietness, I see David’s observation in a fresh way. “You [Divinity] own the day, you own the night; you put stars and sun in place.” (Psalm 74.16) Doing what is best for others is always a good choice.