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Build Your Tribe

June 13, 2018

I considered the question,

Do I have a team? Or do I have a tribe?

In my company I don’t have anyone who reports to me. I’m not a team leader, or a team manager. In fact, my role is defined in such a way that I don’t even have any peers. My manager doesn’t hold a weekly team meeting on Mondays where we all share what we did over the weekend and discuss plans for the week.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of teams. A team leader, or team manager is one of the most important positions in any company, ranking right up there with company president, and C-level executives.

But, currently I’m team-less, in the traditional sense. And yet, I do have a team. Sure, it’s a virtual team. But, it’s a team nonetheless. It’s prehaps better described as a tribe.

My tribe is made up of the people that I work with and more importantly, the people who I depend on to do my job. In addition my tribe is people who depend on my in order to do their jobs.

So, Monday morning I get together with a group of people who depend on me and we talk a little about what we did over the weekend and what the plan is for this week. We typically don’t spend a lot of time in chitchat. Even when I was a formal team manager, I tried to remember that just because my story about visiting the Grand Canyon last week was interesting to me, didn’t mean it was interesting to others. At least it’s probably not the most important thing they are doing.

But, how do you build a team? Sure, I can recognize the people I depend on for success. It’s not always the people that the company thinks are my teammates. Prior to our last reorganization, I did have a team. We had a meeting every Monday morning where we talked about our weekend and what we had planned for the week. But, I didn’t share any tasks or goals with the rest of my “team.”

They were not my tribe. I went out to find my tribe.

You build your tribe in three steps.

First: Identify your tribe. Figure out who you need and who needs you. This is the easy part.

Second: Assemble your tribe. The difference between teams and tribes is that teams are brought together by yoru employer. Tribes are assembled on their own. Membership in a tribe requires mutual trust and mutual support. We share a tribe because we can help each other. And we support one another.

Third: Nuture your tribe. Once the tribe is assembled, it has to be nurtured or it will dissolve. You nurture your tribe by doing “triby” things. You invest in each others stories. You buy them ice creatme. You ask about their weekend. You measure each others success and help each other succeed.

I don’t have a team. But, my tribe is strong and doing amazing things.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

From → Team Building

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