Humility, Respect and Trust – Essential for a Team’s Success

(Source: Fitzpatrick, Brian W.; Collins-Sussman, Ben (2012-07-13).Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others)

As part of my company’s book club, I recently read Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others.  The book was written by a couple tech leads from Google.  The premise is that most software projects fail as a result of the human component versus the technical component.

Of course, by the end of the book you realize that the concepts shared throughout the book apply to all teams – not just software development teams.  When you put a group of people together there is bound to be social issues and conflicts.  These issues and conflicts have a direct impact on teams achieving their goals.


Almost every social conflict can ultimately be traced back to a lack of humility, respect, or trust. Think about a nasty social situation that existed on one of your teams.  Was everyone being appropriately humble?  Were people respecting one another?  Was there mutual trust?


You are not the center of the universe. You’re neither omniscient nor infallible. You’re open to self-improvement.


You genuinely care about others you work with. You treat them as human beings, and appreciate their abilities and accomplishments.


You believe others are competent and will do the right thing, and you’re OK with letting them drive when appropriate.

The next time you or your team is struggling, examine humility, respect and trust.  There probably is a breakdown amongst team members with at least one of these traits.  Start with yourself.  None of us are perfect at these traits.  How can you behave or communicate differently?  If each team member strives for humility, respect and trust your chance for achieving your team’s goals increase exponentially.


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