Do you enjoy teamwork? When I was growing up I used to love playing touch football with my friends. My neighbor Jim was the quarterback, preparing our plays by drawing strategies in the dirt as we huddled around him. Then we took our positions. Everyone had different skills. Some could block, some could throw, and some could run like the wind. Together, we could make a touchdown. And we had fun.
I enjoyed teamwork in my projects at the university. When I was department chair, I became the quarterback, recognizing my colleagues' different strengths and skills. Some of us were creative idea people, some good at details, some had strong interpersonal skills, and others could think strategically. Working together, we were a great team. It was energizing and it was fun.
Today, I enjoy being part of a team in my volunteer work. Instead of complaining about the way things are, it's more energizing to work together to make a positive difference.
The humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers brought out the best in his clients by listening to them and helping them recognize their strengths. Then he used his strategies in the Carl Rogers Peace Project. Affirming the Tao leadership of empowerment, he carried in his wallet this quote from the Tao Te Ching:
With the best of leaders
When the work is done,
The project completed,
The people all say,
"We did it ourselves."
(Tao Te Ching, Chapter 17)
You can cultivate teamwork in your career, in your family, or in your neighborhood by first recognizing your own strengths. What are you especially good at and what do you love to do? Then look for the strengths in the people around you. Encourage everyone to use their strengths to reach a common goal. Feel the exhilarating energy of teamwork.
Now take a moment of meditation to visualize yourself as a Tao leader
Close your eyes,
Take a long, deep mindful breath and release it.
Think of a goal that you care about.
Now see yourself using your personal strengths
Combining them with those of the people around you,
Bringing out the best in them.
Achieving the goal you care about
Making a positive difference.
Feel the energy of teamwork
Now open your eyes
And take the next step
To make it happen.
Enjoy the process