Teamwork #Peopleskills: Keys to Initiating Not Dominating
by Kate Nasser |
Teamwork: What’s the difference between showing initiative and dominating?
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They say that success is about setting a target and going for it. This has become the action set for showing initiative. Leaders expect it and deliver it. Authors write about it and keynoters herald it. Well it’s true if you are working alone!
What happens if you, as an individual, set a goal on a team and go for it? You may get the nickname “Napoleon”! Team members with lots of drive sometimes drive over team members and create teamwork problems.
It’s worth a moment to ask yourselves, how you are coming across?
Are you showing initiative or dominating and seizing power?
Teamwork: Initiating Without Dominating
Showing initiative on a team requires peripheral vision. It means constantly surveying to see how others are responding, involved and interacting. Else initiative turns into domination.
Initiating on a team …
- Volunteering to start the discussion and waiting to see the response
- Asking others for their thoughts
- Offering ideas and possible solutions
- Contributing your knowledge and honoring others’ experience
- Asking questions and waiting to see if others want to discuss
- Checking for reactions, involvement, and agreement
- Working with the belief that results come through the whole team not just through your initiative
Key Reminder: Taking the team’s pulse, waiting for a response and input, and working toward agreement do not neutralize initiative and results; they strengthen them.
Dominating on a team …
- Insisting on certain communication mechanisms the team will use
- Setting the agenda for the team either directly or indirectly
- Expressing your thoughts without hearing others’ views
- Always going first in every discussion
- Volunteering to do many things and resisting input when you’re working on those things
- Using your knowledge to get what you want and think is best for everyone
Key Reminder: If you prescribe what mechanisms team members will use to communicate, you are in essence seizing control of the team. Communication and adaptability are the oxygen of teamwork. Your single-minded view and actions suffocate it.
Not sure you agree with this? Think about a common strategy for an army to dominate and win a war. Cut off the other side’s supply chain and obstruct or control their communication!
Instead of insisting on the latest communication mechanisms that you know and love, ask the team: What communication mechanism(s) do we all currently use? Everyone will be more likely to use it, use it well, update the team frequently, and feel acknowledged. When you ask that question you will be seen as showing teamwork initiative not dominating.
4 Ways to Prevent Dominating
- If you find yourself thinking or saying, “I’m only doing what is best for the team”, stop and find out if the team agrees! That thought is very presumptuous. Teamwork needs openness.
- Ask yourself, “How comfortable am I with how I am interacting?” If your answer is “I’m in heaven.”, find out how comfortable others are with what you’re doing. The more comfortable you are, the greater the chance you’re overlooking others’ needs.
- Before you go into a team meeting, close your eyes and picture someone dominating you. What are they doing? Don’t do that! Respect everyone and contribute to teamwork.
- If you are the official leader of the team, be careful of recognizing and reinforcing team members who dominate. Model, recognize, and appreciate true teamwork initiative.
If you communicate for power, get ready for a power failure!
If you interact well, you power up success!
What would like to add to this discussion: cultural differences, generational impact, your own experience?
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.