“If he would just return the stuff he borrowed.” “If she would just have a better
attitude. “If he would just show up on time.” “If she wouldn’t gossip.” Do you
think these kinds of things about other people? Yes, absolutely—we all do.
Well, here’s the scoop: the most important tip you’re ever going to get about
a winning team is that teamwork starts with you. Teamwork is not about
how we change other people. We can guide adults, coach adults, lead adults,
motivate adults, and affirm adults. That’s all good stuff that can help a team. In
desperation, we can even try to shame, humiliate, or alienate adults to try to
get them to do what we want them to do. That’s wrong, and it doesn’t help the
team or anyone else. Either way, adults, just like children, are ultimately going
to make their own choices.
How Do You Improve Your Team If Changing Others
Isn’t the Answer?
You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself and how you
react to others. A winning team starts with you. If you can’t change others,
how do you improve your team? You can make your team stronger by being
the best person you can be and by being a role model for others. It’s your
responsibility as a member of your team to coach, assist, and support other
adults to become the best team players they can be. Other people will never
be like you, so stop wishing that. Other adults can become something even
better: they can become the best persons and team players they can be.
How Can You Be a Better Team Player?
There’s room for improvement in us all. Start with a self-assessment, then
move on to the ten steps that will help you become a better team player. You
might not have heard of some of the steps. If that’s the case, I hope they will
enlighten and encourage you to become a better team member. Many of the
steps you may know and have forgotten or just aren’t practicing. In any situ-
ation, I hope you will open your mind to honestly assess how you interact
with other adults and what steps you can take to improve those interactions
regardless of how other team members behave. Remember this: teamwork
is about what you can do for the other adults you work with, not about what
they can do for you.