There is an old saying that goes “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” If you want to apply this principle to teamwork, you simply need to identify the weakest link, and then do something about it. This idea is built on the premise that the weakest link can be readily identified.
While you might think the weakest link is obvious, I’m not so sure it is. Which of these people would you label the weakest link?
- People who do the least because they don’t do their fair share.
- People who do the most because they cover for the slackers.
- People who are cranky because they bring everyone down.
- People who are sunny because they aren’t realistic.
- People who are loud and opinionated because they make everyone uncomfortable.
- People who are quiet and timid because they don’t contribute their insights.
- People who have the least knowledge because they don’t catch on quickly enough.
- People who have the most knowledge because they don’t examine basic assumptions.
- People who fall in the middle on everything because we can’t remember their names.
To identify the weakest link, there are usually at least two perspectives. The problem is that we think our styles and preferences to be the best and those not like us to be problematic.
If problems on the team surface, avoid the path of least resistance which is to assign blame to the people who aren’t doing things as you would. Instead, consider everyone’s contribution (including your own) to the problem and build your solution based on that understanding.
Image credit: Jan Tik