In cleaning out some old files, I came across a single sheet of paper with a typed list entitled "11 Commandments for an Enthusiastic Team." I couldn’t recall its source, but a Google search led me to a book by Ian Percy of the same name (subtitled Collaborating with Purpose and Passion), published in 2003.
Regardless of the age of this list, these 11 items are all still relevant today, so I wanted to share; along with some comments of my own.
1. Help each other be right – rather than wrong
It’s easy to over-rely on who’s supposedly right and wrong as a determining factor, but what’s the bigger picture? Think about what’s important and what you are trying to accomplish, rather than feeding your ego or keeping score.
2. Look for ways to make new ideas work – rather than for reasons they won’t
Too often we have the mindset of: "We’ve tried that before." "That just won’t work." "We don’t do things that way." Instead, try: "What if we try it again?" "What if we look at it differently?" "Who could we speak with to get a different perspective?" or "What would we do to make this work if it was our only option?"
3. If in doubt, check it out – rather than making negative assumptions
Lean into the challenge or obstacle, rather than assuming that it can’t be overcome. Do a little more research. Experiment a bit and learn from your small successes and failures (try to fail early and fail fast). And don’t let your fears guide you (remember that FEAR = False Emotions Appearing Real).
4. Help each other win and take pride in each other’s victories
One sign of a mature and effective team is when the team members get as much pride and satisfaction from the accomplishments of others as they do from their own. Be a strong and supportive team member and celebrate others’ achievements.
5. Speak positively about each other and about your organization at every opportunity
No one likes a Negative Nelly or Davey Downer. Don’t ignore issues and shortcomings, but speak well of others and they will likely do the same of you.
6. Maintain a positive mental attitude no matter what the circumstances
Positivity feeds on itself, but so does negativity. Your attitude influences how you act and how you respond to situations, which impacts your ability to achieve your desired results. So keep a positive, can-do attitude, especially when it seems most difficult to do so.
7. Act with initiative and courage as if it all depends on you
You don’t have to be out in front all of the time, but if team members consistently wait for others to act first, then no one will take the lead and forward momentum is hampered. Every team member should view the success of the project or initiative as their responsibility, and take the initiative accordingly.
8. Do everything with enthusiasm – it’s contagious
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." So, ask yourself: Do you want to help engergize the team, or drag it down? Teammates should be able to rely on one another when working together, so that 1 + 1 can equal 3.
9. Believe in what you are doing – never give up
If you don’t have faith in what you are doing as a team, then you probably need to either "fake it till you make it" or find a different team. Often, persistence and perseverance makes the difference in whether the team is successful or not; so, find reasons to keep your confidence high and your belief strong, and help your teammates do the same.
10. Whatever you want – give it away
Do you want the team to be successful? Then do your part. Do you want the team to communicate well? Then be a good communicator yourelf. Do you want the team to have a positive attitude and care about one another? Then bring those things, everyday. Don’t expect more of others than you are willing to give of yourself. And give of yourself to your teammates…without the expectation of getting anything in return.
11. Have fun
Sometimes the last thing we think about having at work is fun. But work should be fun, and enjoyable, and energizing, and fulfilling. Does that sound like "work"? When team members have fun together, they work harder, stay committed to achieving the goals longer, take care of the team better, and handle difficult situations with more composure and empathy. So, go ahead – have some fun!