Is Your Team A Team Of Rivals?

It's common and natural for competition to rise within organizations. Opposing agendas and ideas amongst coworkers and collaborators are essential to growth and can even positively drive innovation. But when we perceive the other as the enemy or someone we need to overcome or defeat things can go off course quickly, especially if we are in the minority. We begin to "fight" emotionally and campaign for something in an effort to "win". Having forgotten what is best for both the company and the consumer, before long it becomes easy to generalize associations of opposition and frustration across our work. Odds are operating from that point of view means being in a state of "fight or flight" most of the day, which is an unhealthy and unpleasant place to be. ("Fight or flight" is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.)

When working with people who are experiencing these kinds of conflicts, I'm reminded of the philosophy of Adwaita. An ancient philosophy, no one knows exactly when it was conceived. It's presented in the Upanishads which are a collection of texts containing some of the central concepts of Hinduism, a few of which are shared with Buddhism and Jainism. I was taught that Adwaita translates from Sanskrit as "not two". Suggesting non-duality, it is also said that "two is where fear can begin." Any perception of 'us and them' (ex. rich and poor, good and bad, cops and robbers) can support this. If I perceive myself as other than you, then there is a context where distrust and fear can arise. If we are connected, unified together in an endeavor whether it's a project at work or at home, that oneness leaves no room for fear of other to occur.

So thinking about your workplace - are you a team of indviduals competing independently (rivals) or are you all playing with the big picture in mind?