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When does someone become a true leader instead of just a boss? It’s when they begin to view the people on their payroll as humans, not simply units of production. And when does someone become a true team member instead of just another “cog in the wheel”? It’s when they treat everyone on the team with respect.

All that begins with the Golden Rule—treat your team members the way you would want to be treated if you were in their situation. Here are five “Golden Rules” of teamwork:

1. Realize that people never get anywhere by themselves. We have all had someone who has helped us at some point in our careers. You want to help “pay it forward” by supporting each of your team members.

2. You have to interact. Take some time every week to walk through the office and talk to your team members. Ask about their family, kids, and outside interests. Get involved!

3. Understand the different personalities. We’re all wired differently, and we all have different goals. When you know the personalities on your team, you can approach each one differently in order to connect with them.

4. Don’t expect your team to be just like you. They aren’t. What motivates you might not motivate them. Get to know their strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes.

5. Accept and appreciate your team. Nothing kills morale quicker than an uninvolved leader or team member who doesn’t acknowledge the success of people on their team. Loyalty is a two-way street.

When you’re a strong leader or team member, your team becomes your “cheering section.” When you treat them well, they want the best for you—and that’s exactly what a strong team is supposed to look like.




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