Working in Teams: Two Plus Two Makes Five!

This blogs shares great enthusiasm for the potential of any small group of thoughtful people coming together.

‘If you were alone in the universe

with no one to talk to,

no one with which to share the beauty of the stars,

to laugh with, to touch, what would be our purpose in life?

It is other life, it is love,

which gives your life meaning.

This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other,

the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.’

— Mitsugi Saotome

I have been spending some time with some great colleagues who come from different countries. We delivered a workshop together and then followed with a retreat. The whole experience has been enlightening, and I’m reflecting on what has made it so.

During our retreat, we were amazed by how much we accomplished. We spent more than half a day reconnecting, starting in silence, sharing what we appreciate about our work together, and what moments in the journey helped us shift. The listening was very deep and generous. We used our mealtimes to share our life stories, and I noticed how comfortable we were to be open and honest, even vulnerable with each other. We shared our visions and aspirations for our respective countries, and of course, when speaking of Ethiopia I had tears of joy, and also of trepidation, mixed with commitment and resolve.

I am increasingly being fascinated by how a team, a collective can be created, and during our retreat I was watching how we were getting closer, what assumptions we shared about each other, and what space we were creating together: of trust, of mutual appreciation, and safety, where we could authentically share how we felt in the moment, as well as give each other feedback.

Even though the two days had a structure, we created in the moment, and whenever someone in the room felt moved to lead a conversation, one would. I would say that thanks to the atmosphere created, it was easy, during the second day, to move into action, codifying our work, prioritizing on what we will do in the next few months, and who we will do what.

All of this can only happen when we work as a team, as a collective. There is such power in work, when we do so collaboratively!

Leaders who Bring Results through Teams

The process we went through during the retreat reminded me of how I view leadership – one where an individual chooses to lead, and to bring about long-lasting results.

The process we went through reminded me on how Barrett Brown (author of the article ‘Conscious Leadership for Sustainability’), speaks of leaders who work and design with a commitment to generating sustainable results. He describes such leaders who:

  1. . Design from a deep inner purpose/ commitment
  2. . Access their intuition, and not just non-rational ways of knowing, and
  3. . Are flexible in the work planned

In other words they:

  1. . Carry out their work with trust in the self, others and the process (design from a deep inner foundation)
  2. . Use intuition and other ways of knowing than rational analysis, also by applying systems thinking (access powerful internal resources), and
  3. . Are a catalyst for transformation. Such leaders also cultivate development in the self, others and the collective (adaptive design management).

I sense that some elements of the above were at play as we were doing our work. I really appreciate my colleagues for having designed such a retreat, and for what they have taught me this past year!

I am now wondering how I myself can keep on developing the capacities/ competencies mentioned above.

In the work I care about:

–         How can I bring the best out of others by noticing and learning from their strengths?

–         In certain situations, how can I trust my hunch, and not just my logic?

–         How can I ensure my colleagues grow and thrive, as I also work on my personal and professional development?

I would appreciate to hear your thoughts on how you work with others, and what new things you may want to try doing with your team, for better results.