There are many roles people play on a typical team. There are healthy, productive roles like the cheerleader and the detail hound. Then there are the dysfunctional, counter-productive roles like the steam-roller and the gossip. But of all the roles on the team, the one people play without understanding its damaging impact is the victim.
It’s a difficult thing to admit because when you feel wronged, you are so convinced that you are an innocent victim of other people’s bad behavior. It’s so hard to imagine that you are contributing to your own misfortune. But if you are letting yourself be victimized (ignored, undervalued, yelled at), you need to turn the situation around.
Find yourself a quiet place and answer these true or false questions as honestly as possible.
- I feel anxious before team meetings.
- I keep my mouth shut when someone criticizes me or my work.
- My body language makes me small. I look down and keep my arms crossed.
- I bottle up my concerns and don’t share them with the team.
- I allow others to interrupt me or brush me off when I try to raise a point.
- I blame our poor team dynamic on the aggressive members of my team.
- I take my concerns to my team leader without addressing them directly with my teammates.
- I complain privately about bad teammates to my trusted confidants.
- I stop doing things and raising points that my teammates criticize.
- I find little, quiet ways to get back at people when they are nasty to me.
If you said yes to more than a couple of these questions, you are allowing yourself to be shut down. You need to find ways to make a bigger contribution. Equally importantly, you need to stop doing things that undermine the team. Your gossiping is just as harmful as someone else’s yelling.