Do You Assume Positive Intent on Teams?

cm429thumb - Teamwork_SkydivingTeam dynamics.  There’s no such thing as a “normal” team.  Each one is different, influenced by the many personalities and situations that collude to create either effective or ineffective performance.

And trust me, all teams have dysfunction.  Some merely overcome the deficiencies, compensate for the weak links, or, let’s face it, simply get lucky.  When success is achieved, it’s a beautiful thing and we celebrate the team.  When success eludes us, we blame the individuals, the circumstances, or the leadership.

You know, I have a theory.  The vast majority of dysfunction in teams is completely avoidable.  More times than not, it comes down to one simple issue…thinking that other team members don’t care about us.  Yep, we’re suspicious about their motives.  We don’t trust their actions.  And we read too much into their words (more often than not in written form, since email communication too often takes the place of face-to-face interactions these days).

keep-calm-and-assume-positive-intent-2This dynamic is easily overcome if we each simply commit to assuming positive intent in all interactions with others.  Quite honestly, this isn’t just applicable to teams.  Assuming positive intent is just a basic part of communication competence.  And yet, failure to actively promote this assumption on the part of the receiver has undermined marriages, cost championships, and turned organizations to festering masses.

Easier said than done, you say?  Yep, you’d better believe it.  And yet, not impossible.  Just like any habit, one needs to work on developing this imperative skill.  The question isn’t, “Can it be done?”  The real question is, “Will you do it?”

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