Inclusion, Ownership, and the word “WE”

Building a team and the overabundance of the word “WE”

As I was sitting at work, procrastinating the pile of things to do on my desk, I was reading over all of my main staples when it comes to killing time, MainTankadin, my rss feed on every blog I follow, my guilds website, etc and I was inspired to write another article that deviates a bit from the specifics of being a protection paladin. I am going to try to tie this in to being a tank and something that is essential to a successful tanking core, but it can be used in any situation with any class or spec. This is because it is about managing the person behind the computer, not the role that they play.

A while back, I received one of the best pieces of advice for being an effective member of a team and I have applied this technique ever since. The piece of advice had to do with the concept of using the word WE as much as possible, as in we did a great job, we can do this, we really need to work on our positioning, etc.

Over the course of my career (my real life career) I was viewed as being cocky and a bit overbearing when it came to my communication skills. I was working hard and long hours and I was accomplishing quite a bit more than was expected out of someone at my level in the company, however as you can see above, my perception was that all of this work was solely my own. When the concept of WE was brought to my attention, it opened up a whole new perception of what it takes to get a job done.

Why should I use “WE”?

When you are talking to your raid, or your guild, or anyone in any situation, using the word we immediately creates a sense of group ownership and team. This is very important in WoW because of the fact that you do almost everything as a guild. This is not to say that if you have the Loremaster title, or something of that nature that it wasn’t an individual achievement, but when it comes to raids and gear and progression, there is absolutely NO doubt that it took a group of people to accomplish.

The concept of inclusion is very important when you are communicating in WoW. Depending on your guild demographic, you could be talking to a bunch of teenagers or a bunch of people in their 30s-50s. No matter what age you are, you will always perform at a higher level when you feel that you have a sense of ownership. This concept is universal. By including your guild mates in the success of your accomplishments, it makes them feel that they were essential to the end result.

This feeling truly enhances a persons focus, determination, and willingness to bend over backwards for you. If you are able to foster a sense of ownership and teamwork within your guild, you will have loyal devoted guild mates that will look up to you as a leader, regardless of your title. There are some people in life who are just natural leaders, who command respect, and who get things accomplished. This is a key to their ability to do these things, inclusion.

When should I use “WE”?

When this concept was first introduced to me, I was asked to pull up an email that I had send out to a bunch of people at work regarding a project I was part of. I was then told to read it, remember the tone of the email. Then, I replaced every single “I” with a “WE.” After doing this, I read the email again and it was like I was reading a whole new communication.

With that being said, the answer to when should you use WE, is every chance you can get. Both for positive encouragement, and constructive criticism. Try it out this week and see how it sounds. Even if your guild mates are not completely sold on the first day, you will see a natural progression in the attitude of the guild and the ability to progress during tougher times. People will band together instead of looking to play the blame game. This is essential to the success and longevity of your guild.

What does this have to do with tanks?

The role of a tank, and more specifically a Main Tank, is a very stressful and difficult job. Even when you master your character, understand your ideal rotations, and learn everything there is to know about an encounter so that you can use your skills in a proactive manner to prevent damage, you still are the focal point of the raid. The boss is hitting you and you are responsible for the positioning, threat, and overall survival of the raid.

Tanks in general have a larger perceived responsibility when it comes to raiding. We are the focal point of the raid, and there is an innate increase in pressure that comes with that. When you are talking to your tanks, whether it is privately in whisper or tank channel or you are communicating to them in vent, the concept of inclusion makes this perceived responsibility melt away so that they can continue to focus on the task at hand, personal survival and threat.

Most tanking cores are a very tight knit group of people and they are more than likely a bit overconfident (it comes with the territory of pacing, and tanking). The positive encouragement that can come from a sense of ownership is very powerful. So next time when you are talking to your guild or raid, be very mindful of your choice of words. The difference between WE and I is the difference between ownership of the task at hand and just another job.

The simple benefits of a sense of Ownership

All of the effort that you can put into changing the way you talk to your guild mates is to foster an environment of ownership. This concept is very important when it comes to motivation, performance, and sustainability. The more that a member of your guild feels that they are personally responsible for the success of a trash pull, boss fight, progression with in an instance or overall atmosphere that the guild has, the harder they will work to ensure that your goals get accomplished. Developing relationships and successful team cohesion is very difficult to do by yourself, by creating an atmosphere of ownership, people will accomplish this end result on their own.

If each member of your team feels that they are contributing to your overall success, then they will innately contribute substantially more than if they are just an individual. So what about those people who are just terrible at their class, spec, etc? Well there is one more thing that this sense of ownership will help you with.

No matter who you are, and what your skills set is, each individual has the ability to contribute something unique and powerful to a team. The fact that everyone is different means that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. The person that you see as weak, more than likely has a strength that you may not have. They may be able to help you achieve your end goals. This is where inclusion and ownership shine.

So remember, next time you talk to your guild, try using WE instead of I, and you will appreciate the new found sense of teamwork that results from a simple change in words.


1 Response to “Inclusion, Ownership, and the word “WE””

  1. August 31, 2009 at 11:54 am

    This is a great idea and is most useful when something angers or frustrates you when raiding. For example, I lost a roll on Sif’s Promise after rolling an 88, and I was upset that someone managed to outroll me (and that I couldn’t replace my stupid PvP ring), but just remembering that said person is part of our 25-man “team” means that she will now produce more DPS, helping the raid in the long run; while my gear may suffer, the raid’s gear is getting better, and we will have an easier time on things in the future.

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