No matter how you feel about this statement it won’t seize to be true. You won’t get far without a team and I’ll tell you why.
If you’re anything like me, this hurts you deep in your soul because you’re probably the type of person who prefers to do everything by yourself and are very independent with everything you do and you’re very proud of that. Unfortunately for people like us, this tactic won’t get us very far as much as I hate to admit it and here are the reasons why.
Independence or Lack of Trust?
Meeting my work team face to face for the first time this weekend really solidified the value of teamwork for me. We each work remotely but our tasks are deeply interconnected and having had the opportunity to actually do the work together in the same room as a team not only convinced me of the importance and value of teamwork but also led me to understand how much trust is requited to work with a team.
People often say that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself and although this is sometimes true, what people like us who are sometimes overly independent tend to do is cling on to this “truth” even before we try out an alternative concept such as a team. Another thing we tend to do is not invest time into searching for someone as qualified as we are to do the task because we’ve just accepted that nobody can do it better than us. We tend to hold on to this idea that nobody can do it as well as we can so strongly that we start to believe that we HAVE to do everything ourselves, we then end up not getting as much as we want done (because obviously, we’re human, singular humans and there’s only so much we can do in a day), we burn out, we end up becoming stressed, unpleasant individuals and it’s just overall not a good way to tackle and increase productivity.
The underlying issue here from my experience is a chronic condition I like to call Lack of Trust disease. We believe nobody can do it better than us and that leads us to automatically distrust other people’s ability to help us get the job done and one man bands only last so long.
As much as we might not like it, trusting people is absolutely essential to being successful not only in business but with life in general. Some people won’t be as good at doing whatever task as you and you have to accept that, some people will misuse your trust and hurt or disappoint you and you have to deal with that too. The point is not to give up and revert to the default “I’ll just do it” attitude because when you do find those people who have the same drive as you or are as excited about our cause as you are you’ll be able to get more things done with your day.
How can you get over your fear of trusting people?
- If you have a hard time letting go of control nothing says you can’t or shouldn’t double check the work you delegated to somebody else. They might not be perfect but they can definitely help you get the bulk of the work out of the way for you and save you some major time.
- You can also train someone to be as good as you and if they are open and willing to learn, you’ll not only be making sure the work gets done the way you want it to, you’ll also be giving yourself an awesome opportunity to practice your teaching skills.
What if you REALLY hate working in a team and/or haven’t built one yet?
- Learn to build trust first. How do you do that? From my experience, participating in group activities was the best way. Joining group sports, doing volunteer work, etc., and being open and willing to learn how to trust that other people will do their best is a very good way to build up your trust in other people.
I started doing this this year by taking part in a few different social groups here in Wuhan and I even participated in a couple of Dragon Boat races (I’ll link it here when the post is up) and that has definitely helped me open up to the idea of working as a team and helped me learn how to let go of my tendency to control and do everything myself and trust other people with their part of the work.
There Are Only 24 Hours In A Day
You, as a singular person, can only accomplish so much in a day. Unless you know the secret do stopping time or you were blessed at birth with 42 hour days there’s only so much you can do. So having a strong team is an amazing way to virtually create time. Depending on how strong your team is and how much trust you have in each other, you can stretch your day by hours, days, weeks or even months with all you’ll be able to accomplish in 24 hours. The more the people, the stronger the trust and the higher the level of skill of each individual the more you can get done.
I once saw a mug online that said “You Have The Same Amount Of Hours In A Day As Beyoncé”. How does she get so much done in a day you ask? She has a strong team behind her, that’s how.
Building The A-Team
Now, the easiest way to do this would obviously be to find people who are as passionate about what you want to do as you are but honestly speaking, this isn’t the easiest thing to find. You can’t force people to care about what you care about, period. So if you’re building a team from scratch and don’t have the funds to employ people right now, you have to find other ways to pay them.
You can always find a way to add value to some else’s life. A simple exchange of services will most likely do. Most people have something they need help with and if you can provide them with that help you can ask them for help with your projects in return.
A few notes on this:
- Always offer the kind of assistance you expect to receive. If you expect a certain level of commitment from the other person in regards to your project you have to be willing to offer the same to them.
- Respect people’s time and how much they’re willing to help you. Beggars can’t be choosers. Now, I’m not saying that you have to accept sub-par work, what I’m saying is don’t expect people to do more than what they told you they were willing to do and don’t expect them to work overtime for you when they’ve told you how much time they’re willing to invest in you.
The best and easiest way of course if you’re already running a profitable business or if you are in a position to do so is to pay people, in cash. Hire a team. That way you can expect as much as you want (according to the terms of the employment contract of course). You still can’t force them to care about your project as much as you do but from the moment you’re willing to pay people for their services you are in a position to choose people who are at the very least ‘minimally’ interested in what you do and you can motivate them further as time goes by.
Nobody Likes A Control Freak
And I’m no way implying that you need everybody to like you but most people need space to perform their best and unnecessary pressure will most likely lead to your team feeling stressed, making more mistakes and at the end of the day being overly controlling might actually end up losing you time (if you’re constantly checking the status of their work, constantly trying to fix mistakes mid-way before giving them a chance to go over the mistakes themselves once their work is finished, etc.) instead of saving you time and that’s a very high price to pay all because you’re unwilling to trust people to do what they’ve been asked to do.
Teams Push You To Do Better
As much as I used to hate doing group projects and doing anything in a team setting I’ve never come out of the experience without either having learned something about myself that I could improve on or becoming better at something I wasn’t as good at before the group project. When working with a team you learn to have more patience, you learn how to truly listen to people when they speak, you learn how to trust people and their knowledge and skills, you learn and pick up new points of view, you learn how to let go of unnecessary control among other things.
Teamwork also allows you to learn about yourself because those interactions will show you areas where you need to improve. Your A-Team will push you to do better. It’s always easier for other people to notice your strengths and weaknesses from an outside perspective and the people who are part of your team will show you your weaknesses because they want to see you improve and do better, not as a form of criticism. Your A-Team wants to see you win.
I recently had this experience when my amazing friend helped me set up and shoot the images for this post. As uncomfortable and shy as I was having someone else watch me as I worked (because I’m a chronic “do it yourself-er”), she had some amazing ideas. Some I did try during the shoot, others I tried by myself later on but if it wasn’t for her being there, being part of my team and pointing some things out to me and giving me her suggestions I wouldn’t even have thought to try the things she had in mind and they post turned out great in my humble opinion 🙂
Even thought I’m not in a position to say that I love working as a team as of yet, I’m definitely seeing the advantages of doing so and getting more and more comfortable with approaching and selecting the people I want on my A-Team helping me get to where I want to be and trusting that they’ll always do their best work.
And last but not least…
Teams Are Tried And True
To this day I haven’t found a single success story where someone can honestly say they succeeded solely and purely on their own without any help from anyone else. There’s always a team behind the person who “makes it” whether it’s a team of other experts in the field or related fields or just the people who handle all the administrative things that tend to take up valuable time like the laundry, grocery shopping, scheduling meetings and appointments etc. Behind a success story there’s always an A-Team.
(Now, I’m not saying that making it on your own without any help can’t be done but personally, I haven’t found many stories like that. If you know of any success stories of people who’ve never had teams behind them then please shoot them my way! I’m always open to learning new ways of doing things but until then, I’ll be working on building my team. 🙂 )
Which of these two types do you identify with? Do you work better with a team or are you a “do it yourself” kind of person? What have your experiences been so far? What are the best things about the way you work? What things would you like to improve on? Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave them below!