This blog has been drafted by one of the first young people we coached nearly a decade ago. He was introduced to the MERIT™ PLE system in his teen years and now has graduated University with a business degree and is employed in the corporate workplace where he applies these leadership principles daily:
The holiday season is often associated with giving gifts, spending time with family and caring for those with less. Often overlooked however is the value that caring for others can have in our professional careers. This is prominently showcased by how it can impact the effectiveness of teams within the workplace. One of the driving factors of team effectiveness is the degree of UNITY in which it operates. While there are different methods to promote team unity, the MERIT™ system used by Logia Consulting has identified 5 practices that promote healthy and effective teams within the workplace by ‘Zeroing in on Caring for Others’. These are:
U – Uplift one another
N – Need one another
I – Intently Relate to one another
T – Trust one another
Y – Yield to one another
Uplift One Another
This means building people up and can take on many different forms. The MERIT™ system explores the following four methods:
- Expressing confidence
Genuinely compliment your team members by bringing attention to something that illustrates their personal or character growth. Express confidence in their ability to perform and achieve results. Provide comfort and empathy for members who are hurting. Coach your team by assisting in developing their skills, adjust an attitude or gain insight.
Need One Another
Develop a healthy interdependence with the members of your team. William Glasser’s book Reality Therapy states at all times in life we need a minimum of at least one person who cares for us and whom we care for ourselves to fulfill our basic social needs. As an employer or manager, recognize your feedback is important and needed by your teammates and associates. At the same time, recognize your need of others to keep you balanced and point out your blind spots.
Intently Relate to Each other
Develop effective open communication between yourself and others. Author Stephen Covey of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People recommends the practice of seeking first to understand before being understood. Seek to understand the other person by actively listening, empathizing and acknowledging their point of view. Next, seek to be understood by clearly communicating yourself to the other person through your words, tone and body language. In cases of conflict, retain a true desire to resolve the differences at hand in the most viable way possible.
Trust One Another
Believe the best about your co-workers and trust that their actions are done with positive intentions. This does not mean abandoning standards of appropriate behavior but taking proactive measures to listen effectively. By taking a positive attitude towards the intentions of those around us we become less likely to form harmful misconceptions and false judgments about the other person. From a Biological perspective, this is explained by the part of our brain called the Reticular Activation System. Also known as the RAS, this part of the brain effects our selective focus in everyday life. Selective focus means that we will ignore certain stimuli while emphasizing others. If you believe others around you are against you, your RAS is more likely to focus on signs that reinforce this belief while ignoring evidence to the contrary. This then may turn into creating false assumptions and sparking needless conflict.
Yield to Others
The final and arguably most difficult practice for leaders is the ability to appropriately yield to others. In certain cases, persistent fighting between you and another produces only wasted energy and damaged relationships between team members. When done at the right time, yielding to another can bring a much needed stand still to the conflict and allows the other person to respond positively. Doing so displays selflessness and commitment to lead without being ruled by one’s ego. This practice is not so much admitting that you are wrong and they are right, rather it is yielding to your guiding principles and commitment to the greater objective of the team.
To maximize your team’s capability to achieve results, you can promote unity by zeroing in on caring for others you work alongside. If your team is serious about achieving results it will inevitably encounter obstacles and setbacks that will test its ability to move forward as one cohesive unit. If you are not skilled at strengthening the relationships between the individuals you work alongside, needless conflict, infighting and wasted energy will threaten your team’s ability to succeed ahead of the competition. Aside from the results it brings, caring for others will also provide your life with more meaningful and fulfilling relationships, something valuable in and of itself.