Taking the initiative and building a better team

Way back when I was working at a swimming pool, we had a team meeting because the team wasn’t as cooperative as it should have been, and I learned what I think is a very good lesson from this team meeting.

Those who have worked at pools would know that every 15 minutes or so you rotate the lifeguards to help keep them awake. We were trying an experiment to see whether the newer lifeguards would take the initiative to rotate or not. Basically we wanted to judge how awake they were.

They didn’t rotate, so our experiment was good in that we had found out that they still had more to learn, but that we did this experiment in the first place was rather foolish.

You shouldn’t expect people to know to do things like this. You have to take the initiative yourself, especially if you’re in a position where you have the knowledge and the ability to do so. Sometimes, there are things that people just don’t get round to doing, even though they know they should do it. Sometimes you have to take the initiative to make sure these things get done.

If we had told the newer lifeguards they were expected to rotate at a certain time, I’m pretty sure they would have. Instead we played a stupid game on them that in the end just made us look foolish, and uncooperative. This was but one lesson, but it did help us to build a better team later on.

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