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Use Teamwork to Achieve Lofty Goals

Use Teamwork to Achieve Lofty Goals


    I was watching the documentary entitled Frozen Planet, which is an absolutely incredible series showing nature and wildlife in the high Arctic as well as the Antarctic. This series has been one of the most entertaining and educational television programs I’ve seen in a long while. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must-see — as the producers did a great job educating us about the far reaches of our planet with some awesome film footage.

    Teamwork in The Arctic

    Two separate scenes on opposite ends of the Earth showed a similar theme in wildlife. The first one showed how a pack of Arctic wolves worked together to bring down a bison, which is a much larger prey. After tracking the herd of bison, the wolves circled it and tried to get one of the bison to separate from the rest of the herd.

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    They were not successful at first, but eventually they distracted the bison enough that the herd started to stampede. With the herd in motion rather than standing their ground, the wolves were able to single out a younger and smaller bison, which they brought down.

    Some wolves attacked the belly of the bison (its most vulnerable area), while others tried to slow it down by attacking the hind legs. The young bison fell soon after. The pack was successful in its hunt because they worked together as a team. Without this teamwork, there’s no way that any of them could have been successful — or even still alive — if any one of them faced off against the horns of any bison.

    Teamwork in The Antarctic

    The producers of Frozen Planet then showed another scene this time in the ocean near Antarctica. The team this time around was a pod of orcas, also known as killer whales. Again, I watched another hunt in complete awe.

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    The prey during this scene was a seal lying on an ice floe. The orcas used a strategy where they swam in unison under the ice floe to create a massive wave in order to break it up and knock the seal into the water. When the seal hit the water, the whales then used a sideswiping move to create turbulence in the ocean. Some even blew air bubbles in the water to distract the seal. The seal did eventually escape onto another ice floe but was so exhausted that one of the orcas simply came up behind and dragged the seal by the tail and into the ocean.

    Again, it was an amazing display of teamwork that made the orcas successful in their hunt. In fact, killer whales are sometimes known as the ‘wolves of the seas’ because of their similar pack behavior much like the wolves on land.

    Teamwork for Our Goals

    These two examples of teamwork in nature made me think about the lessons that we humans can apply. For many of our loftier goals, it is extremely difficult and challenging to accomplish them on our own. Building successful businesses and losing body weight are just two such goals.

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    Although it might be possible to achieve such goals, they are much easier to attain if — like the wolves and orcas — we use teamwork. By having the help and expertise of the right group of people around us, we can achieve goals much faster. The chances of overall success are higher as well when we have the right support and motivation from others.

    If you have certain big goals that you want to achieve, consider recruiting a team around you so that you won’t have to face your challenges all alone. Get other like-minded people to help you as you help them achieve their goals. Everyone wins when teamwork is applied for success.

    Feel free to share below some of your goals that you will recruit a team for.

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    (Photo credit: People Hands in the Sky via Shutterstock)

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    Published on November 12, 2020

    5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

    5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

    What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

    Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

    Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

    While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

    Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

    1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

    When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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    Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

    In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

    • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
    • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
    • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

    While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

    2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

    Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

    Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

    Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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    However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

    3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

    Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

    But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

    It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

    4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

    Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

    Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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    5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

    Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

    For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

    How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

    The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

    If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

    Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

    It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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    Final Thoughts

    If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

    If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

    It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

    More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

    Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

    Reference

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