Those of you who are familiar with the DISC personality profile/assessment will know what I mean when I say I have “high C” and “some D” tendancies. (If you’re not familiar with DISC, you should check out this Wikipedia entry.) Essentially, this means three things for me:
- I really like being right.
- I don’t mind making sure others know that I’m right.
- I don’t necessarily play or work well with others.
I’m okay with #1… not so much with #2 and #3. These tend to be ongoing lessons in humility for me. Whether your personality reflects dominance, influence, steadiness or conscientiousness, there are several shortcomings with each one. I have identified mine and am working just about daily on avoiding each of them.
Notice I avoid, not improve. I have others around me who make up for them, just as I make up for weaknesses in their lives. The team I work with has chosen to focus on working to each individual’s strengths and allowing the rest of the team to shore up areas of individual deficiency. I am learning to lean my weaknesses on the strengths of others and, as much as I’d prefer otherwise, let my pride fall down when I can’t do it alone.
This allows each of us to invest our time in things that we excel at and leave the other things to other people who excel in doing other things. Clear as mud?
- Don’t allow your weaknesses to slow you down.
- Farm out the things that you’re just not that good at.
- Focus on doing the things that only you can do.
For example, if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur that has the ability to generate revenue of $200 per hour, why do you waste $185 an hour by purchasing the office supplies or mowing the lawn? Hire that out to someone at $15 an hour and go do the work only you can do.
The same principle can be applied in a ministry or non-profit scenario like I work in. Last week had the privilege of helping another staffer with an issue he was having with a certain software application. There’s no doubt that he would have eventually figured out the answer but rather than have him struggle through it for possibly hours, I got him up and running in about 10 minutes or so. I had no problem whatsoever using that time out of my full day because I’ve lost track of how many times he’s done the same for me. We mutually save our non-profit literally hours of work per week by doing this… we save time as a team.
I like being right; however I’ve learned that I don’t need to be right at the expense of hours of lost work. I also know there are still many lessons I need to learn when it comes to teamwork.
For now though, let’s get the job done by working together, shall we?
Bottom line: What has your experience been in working on a team? What area can/should you give up that someone else can do more efficiently or effectively?