Great Teams Deal with the PROBLEM!

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Great teams or collaborative results are critical for most organizations. But a big problem looms over all teams, and great teams deal with the PROBLEM.

If you haven't read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, please do. He provides excellent insight into five mistakes that hurt teams and teamwork. Here is his list altered slightly.

  • Lack of trust
  • Unclear or wrong goals
  • Lack of accountability
  • Lack of commitment
  • Inappropriate conflict
Great Teams Deal with the PROBLEM!


Each of those "dysfunctions" reduces teamwork because they are all symptoms of the PROBLEM! And great teams deal with the problem instead of just trying to remove the symptoms. Okay then, what is the problem? The PROBLEM is when...

...each person makes everything about ME!

Yes, even great teams have the PROBLEM. Each team member has a "path of least resistance" to making everything about themselves. When "ME" rears its ugly head, all mistakes follow one at a time or all at once.

And leaders do the same thing. Leaders have a constant battle in their minds to think about ME or WE. The "Battling Structures" are explained in course 1. Consequently, GR8 Leaders choose a different structure - "Serve WE - Committed to INFLUENCE others to get THERE!"

Elevated Negative Emotions

From personal experience and watching others, "making everything about ME" is familiar to everyone. Obviously, some people are worse than others, but we all do it. An easy place to see your ME flashing moment is when you complain about others. Specifically, look for those times you are irritated, upset, discouraged, angry, disappointed, etc., which we call "elevated negative emotions." Please trust me; when you see those emotions, you are probably on the wrong path.

On the other hand, GR8 leaders build great teams and find ways to reduce the PROBLEM. The quickest way is to encourage team members to SERVE others. That solution works for businesses, teams, and 1-on-1 relationships.

And, next time you are into "elevated negative emotions," ask yourself, "How am I making this about ME right now?" Of course, if you aren't objective, you will not see it. But, when you are objective and see it, slow your "ME thinking" down, which will slow your emotions down. Finally, serve someone rather than complain about them.

Making Everything About ME

It's sad but true; we spend a lot of energy getting our way. Now some people think this disease of the "I" is more about extroverts than introverts. While I don't have any research to illustrate that, it is easy to state that focusing on yourself - ME - is more likely a common trait for everyone. Yes, extroverts may show their "ME" moments more, but introverts are still focused on ME even if it isn't showing.

Everyone makes life about "ME" every day in multiple ways. In contrast, GR8 Leaders help create great teams with the antidote of humility and serving others! They help create great teams when they teach and coach the six great values of GR8 Leaders. Additionally, they help build great teams by assisting them to become aware of "ME" moments.

Plain and Simple SELFISHNESS

Now some people want you to believe this is a complex issue. So, they put some psychological name on it, calling it narcissism, a dysfunction, or a syndrome. But, it is plain and straightforward SELFISHNESS.

A few years back, in a few minutes, I created a list of 22 ways that I can, and do, make everything about ME. Here are just five.

  • Be defensive. Don't be teachable
  • Be impatient. Don't suffer long
  • Always be right. Don't learn
  • Seek revenge. Don't forgive
  • Be a quitter. Don't persevere

Obviously, the list would be much longer if I spent more than a few minutes. 

This ME issue is THE PROBLEM for everyone, everywhere. It cripples relationships and teams. As a result, when you make life about ME, you are in the LEFT CIRCLE - and are a perceived victim of life, circumstances, and people. Please don't do that; move the RIGHT CIRCLE.

If you do not remember the 2 Circles, you find them in course 6 - click here to see what course 6 has to offer. And click here to read Complaining is Just Another Time "It's All About ME."

The Power of Nice

Another option is the simplicity of being nice. You might think it is trivial, but it is a profound cure to making life about ME. If you want a fun and insightful read, pick up The Power of Nice by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. They offer simple principles and great stories that are insightful and uplifting because it is all about serving others.

So, try it. Start simple, and smile more at people. Say "thank you" to everyone who serves you, and treat strangers with respect. Try it for a whole week. Say it to everyone who helps you, and you will start the journey away from the constant ME thoughts.

Or, if you want to approach it from the opposite side, I heard about a "Complaint Fast." The goal is not to complain for seven days straight. If you complain about your thoughts or speech during any day, the seven days start again.

Making it about ME is THE PROBLEM for great teams and any relationship—time to recognize it and do something about it.


5 teamwork mistakes, a team's biggest problem, humility, inappropriate conflict, lack of accountability, lack of commitment, lack of trust, making everything about ME, selfishness, serving others, unclear goals

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