In the automotive industry, as in all others, no matter whether you’re in a dealership or work as a vendor, you’re most likely part of a team. Sometimes the people on your team (or perhaps, even you) neglect an important detail or fail at something important. When this happens, it can cultivate emotions such as mistrust and anger. That lost commission, upset customer, or incorrectly placed blame, can transform attitudes towards your team – or their attitudes towards you – into something toxic that threatens to endanger the bond that should exist for a team to succeed. But you shouldn’t let it.
One day in 1987, Maica Folch, a famous trapeze artist, was rehearsing for a big show the next day. While being hoisted 80 feet in the air, all of a sudden, the harness she was wearing malfunctioned and she began to plummet to the ground, certain she would die. Because the safety contraption attached was like a giant rubber band, Maica, who stayed calm and collected despite the imminent threat of death, ended up bouncing off the ground, receiving only bruises. She managed to steady herself by grabbing a rope during her ascent. One would think that a trapeze artist who routinely puts herself at risk would be angry. She did almost die – and the crew and safety harness designers failed to ensure her safety. What was her response? “When something goes wrong, there is no one to blame. I love what I do, I love doing it with you, and it’s because I trust you. We don’t live in a perfect world.”
The fact is that, as Maica Folch said, we don’t live in a perfect world. It is hard to expect total perfection, 100% of the time from ourselves and our teammates. Mistakes get made. The key is how those mistakes are handled – and the reactions to those mistakes that determines whether a team is really a team – or just looks like one. Of course, you don’t want someone on your team who constantly fails to pull their weight, and never really acts as a member of the team. However, if they are a trusted team member that constantly makes their numbers, has your back and just makes the odd mistake, surely they are worthy of your support?