Do YOU Recognize Your Team?

“Don’t recognize me?” I am Sal. I am Sal.
Mary Carol didn’t recognize Sal. This was the sad truth. She knew someone from the team would pick them up at the airport. She did recall, however, that Sal would pick her up at the airport. She didn’t know what Sal looked like. Sal recognized Mary Carol.
Sal said again as they were leaving the airport: “Don’t know who I am?” Mary Carol immediately realized her mistake. She could have easily looked at Sal’s photo on the team site. She would also have been able to recall more about him. She tried to dismiss it as jet lag and asked if he had ever cut his hair differently. He knew better.
Mary Carol had not only missed a chance to strengthen a relationship with a team member but she had also weakened that bond. She could see that Sal was disappointed. He had taken the time and got to know her. Did she think she didn’t have to get to know her team because she was the boss? Did she think they were so interconnected that she didn’t have to get to know them because she was the boss?
Mary Carol didn’t think she was more than her team. She also did not believe she needed to know her teammates. She just didn’t think. She didn’t take the time to access the team website to get to know the people she was visiting during her preparations. She prepared reports and presentations. She forgot to prepare for the people.
Mary Carol would have praised the team website if she was asked. Mary Carol believed that the team website provided a way for team members to connect, to share, and to get to know each other. These thoughts were a hint at the attitude that would lead her to her awkward situation with Sal. Mary Carol didn’t think the team website was right for her. She thought it was for THEM. This revealed a mindset that was either us or them. Mary Carol didn’t see herself as part the team. As a leader, there were two things she needed to learn. The first was to understand that when preparing to deliver presentations and reports, she also had to get to know her audience. The second was to remember that the tools her team uses are also for her use. Tools that help build and strengthen team relationships are especially important.
Mary Carol felt uncomfortable for the rest of her time with Sal, his co-workers, and Mary. She was aware that she had made a mistake that could have been avoided and that she would never make it again.
You know better!