What This Means To You

In work, teamwork is serious business. Teams function very differently in the workplace than they do in the classroom because the level of competition – and the rewards and penalties – can make or break careers.

In school, every person on a team can get an ‘A.’ Students are judged against a set of standards – as long as you know your Algebra (as demonstrated on various tests and with class participation), do your homework, and behave appropriately, you can get an ‘A.’ So can anyone else in the class who meets the same set of requirements. In fact, while rare, it is possible for a full class of students to all get ‘A’ grades their report cards.

Ultimately, there are no limits on the number of ‘A’ grades a teacher can award.

In business, like it or not, workers are often judged against each other. This is virtually unavoidable because in business, there might be only one managerial position open and everyone wants it (and may think they deserve it). There is a distinct hierarchy in titles that people earn. Bigger titles come with bigger paychecks, bigger bonuses, bigger and brighter offices, more clerical support, closer parking spaces, and company cars.

But not everyone gets promoted. And there is always a finite amount of money in the bonus pool which may not be – and often should not be – divided equally among members of a team.

This unequal distribution of power and financial assets significantly ratchets up the level of competition and pressure among and between employees. Even as far-seeing organizations attempt to level the playing field for all employees, competition is, and always will be, part of the DNA of any business organization. Within this highly competitive environment, there are basic rules of conduct that all must follow. No matter how much you may disagree with a management decision to promote someone else over you, you must learn to accept that decision in a mature and professional manner.

If, as a high school student, you don’t get along with people you don’t like, or you gossip about people, or you are nasty when others get what you want, then know you will never succeed on a work team – or perhaps in any business but your own. And maybe not even then.

You need to learn to get along with and support everyone because the very people you treat badly when they are your equal may be the people who stomp on your promotion when they become your boss.

Someday, you could be in a serious competition for advancement with some of your best friends who work in the same office. The rewards, and the failures, can be life-altering.

But if you’re a Rainmaker, you will know how to interact under all these pressures and influence people in positive ways.



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