Overcoming Differences

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
– Winston Churchill

When a team works in harmony, it doesn’t mean that conflict is absent. It is inevitable that conflict and differences will arise at some point. A team is comprised of people from all backgrounds and walks of life, and unless each individual strives to overcome differences, there will be no team harmony. In the end, all group movements depend on the quality and commitment of individuals.

One of the most satisfying experiences—both in sports and the workplace—is to be part of a team that gets along well and works as a cohesive unit. This is accomplished through positive communication, mutual acceptance, and genuine encouragement.

Harmony is rooted in mutual trust and respect. Team harmony grows when you take the time to stop and listen to others and when they listen to you; when you respect their feelings and when they respect yours; when you accept their differences and they accept yours; and when you choose to help them and they help you. When people work together to create a positive atmosphere, a feeling of unity, better practices, improved work sessions, and high-quality performance will follow.

If you desire team harmony, begin to foster a team mindset in others by showing a willingness to serve the big picture rather than yourself. Winning teams have players who put the good of the team ahead of themselves.

While there is no secret formula to lead a team with no conflict, there are ways to handle yourself when adversity surfaces:

  1. Resolving conflicts: Work on improving your own communication skills and your own emotional control. When a communication problem exists, even though someone else may have been more responsible for starting it, both sides should work to implement a workable solution.
  2. Making differences work for you: While there are vast individual differences among members of all teams, these differences can work to your advantage and make you stronger as a team. However, the only way you will grow in strength is if everyone is willing to learn from each other, to work together, and to share strengths. Decide as individuals and as a group that you really want to excel, or to be the best you can be. Encourage and support one another.

Everyone on a team is linked together like a family. What you do and how you respond to others affects how they respond to you. In order to achieve harmony, each of us has to do our part in the process. This individual performance brings the team one step closer to unity.