The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Why don’t they adapt

Some of the leaders I meet assume that the people who join their team will adapt. They might give them good advice as to how people in their team act. They might also suggest that in that team people respect one another, contribute, act openly and transparently, etc. But once this has been shared, they rely on the group to make it happen.

They see their task in dealing with emerging conflicts and evaluating the way people act when things don’t work out as expected. And they will use this information to provide feedback to members of the team when it seems adequate to them.

They are focused on wanting people to adapt to the way they want the team to act or to what they expect from individuals. Actually, they often don’t realize that this is their expectation towards the team. For many, it has been so natural for them to adapt to the expected behavior that they see their approach as perfectly normal. They will also see themselves as helpful as the way they seek to assist their team is by providing them with helpful guidance as to how to best adapt to the way things happen in that team.

What they don’t realize, is that there are two ways to adapt. One is to be committed to what the team does and how it feels to be part of the team. The other is to over-adapt, that is to integrate oneself into a team expecting that someone will take care of leading them.

The difference between both approaches is, that in the second approach people gave up their individuality in the hope to join a group where they will be ok. Here people expect others to tell them how to contribute and be part of the team.

Those who committed themselves to the team may find themselves adapting to the others. But they do so because they know that they belong to the team. They are clear that in that team, belonging is more than being on the payroll. It is caring for one another, protecting the team and its members, and it is seeking to strengthen the team for as long as they are part of it. They also feel free to expect the same from their teammates.

When there is a mix between both approaches, the tendency will be to shift from a sense of belonging to a sense of expecting.





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