I sit here all by myself writing this. In my bedroom. Just like most days. And probably like many of you. The past two years have allowed (er…forced) us to adapt to new ways of working. Teams became “remote”, social interactions became “distant”, and feelings of isolation became much more commonplace. Going forward, we’re now faced with “hybrid” work. While this flexibility will be enjoyed by most, isolation will still be felt by many for a myriad of reasons. But it was on a morning run last week that I realized just how important it is to feel like you are part of a community, or part of a tribe.
We held a two day Interactive Workshops Sales Offsite last week. To kick off each morning, we went for a run through the English countryside. While desperately trying to keep up with the group, I had a revelation: I was part of a tribe. I had found kindred spirits.
As the run continued, three critical benefits of being part of a tribe came to light:
1. A tribe shares your same values and goals
When you find your tribe, collaboration becomes smoother, conflict becomes constructive, and trust becomes natural.
2. A tribe pushes you
Your tribe should demand the best out of you, and you of them. They will help you see more in yourself than you do. So find people who will inspire and push you to go farther, reach higher, or run faster (even if it’s uphill along a muddy path).
3. A tribe will slow down when you fall behind
Nobody is perfect, nobody knows everything, nobody is good at everything. At times, you will be the weakest link. To get the most out of ourselves, we need to rely on others. Find those who are willing to let you rely on them. Even if it’s simply to hold back, let you know it’s okay that you’re about to pass out on the side of the road, and give you the encouragement to keep going.
But what about if you are leading a tribe, or are trying to build your own tribe? Those same three principles apply:
1. Find people who share your same values and goals
This doesn’t necessarily mean to surround yourself only with those who think the same, or are so similar that you lose the benefits of diversity. Rather, find people who will believe in what you believe in, buy-in to what you are trying to achieve, and share the same values as you.
2. Push your tribe
Inspire them, help them see what is possible, and don’t let them settle for anything less than their best. Don’t be a tyrant, but respectfully set high standards and don’t be afraid to set the pace.
3. Develop and support your tribe
You are only as fast as your slowest member. Therefore, as the leader of the tribe, it’s your responsibility to develop everyone–to strengthen the weakest link. Nobody is perfect, everyone will fall short. When they do, forgiveness, grace, and development are the answers. This will not only strengthen the individual and the tribe, but it will win the type of loyalty that energizes the tribe to go above and beyond.
If you are considering a career move, think about finding your tribe. This could simply be a new team within the same organization you are in now, or it may be an entirely new organization. And if you are looking to build your tribe, look for those who will contribute to and build the tribe with you. Doing so will benefit both you and your tribe in the long run.
So while I may be all by myself in my bedroom (for now), I am not alone. I am part of a tribe.