When working with new teams, we sometimes encounter sceptics. They tell us a team process cannot work in their environment, often because of someone, generally on the other side, who will not support the process.
Making real systemic change is never easy, and it cannot happen without the hard work of people who are committed to making change. If you question the commitment of others, it weakens your own ability to succeed in the process. The most successful teams with which we have worked have members who are committed to working together to make change. This is where your role comes in.
You cannot control the commitment of others, and cannot assume someone has a lower level of commitment than you. As a team member, you need to analyze how you can make the team successful. The attitude you bring to the team, the quality of the work you do, and the approach you take will help determine the success of the team. Do not wait until someone else shows you they are committed, because they could be questioning your commitment.
Demonstrating your commitment to creating systemic change is shown in the quality of work you do for your team, the way you present your views, and how you carry out your responsibilities.
The good people from the Labor Management Partnership at Kaiser Permanente summarize the necessary attitudes and actions with a poster asking the question “Are You a Whiner or a Problem Solver?” The characteristics of a problem solver include being creative rather than complaining, being optimistic and mission-focused. Their energy-generating optimism brings people together to focus on creative possibilities.
The way your present yourself affects how people view you and your contribution to your team. Take a look at the poster and see which side is most like you. When you demonstrate these positive characteristics, you enhance the team’s ability to be able to identify and resolve problems and show your commitment to the process.
Do your team members view you as a whiner or a problem solver? Being part of a problem-solving team gives you the opportunity to make a difference for you, your colleagues, and your organization. Take advantage of that, because it can work for you.