(Not as) Common (as It Should Be) Courtesy

Building SkillsEven if religion isn’t your thing, you probably know the Golden Rule, which one modern translation  renders: “In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you.” If religion is your thing, you may be familiar with St. Paul’s elaboration on this point, in his admonition to the Phillipians: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  In the workplace, this is called being a team player.

A wise person has observed, “The way up is often down.” A quick assessment of our national political, athletic, and entertainment cultures suggests that a lot of key players haven’t heard this or have chosen to ignore it. True, we want our workforce members to have confidence in their knowledge and abilities, and we will always applaud the grand thinkers and bold actors in our midst. Yet we often fail to appreciate the power in humility and service, the “offensive line” of life’s football team, if you will.

The Upworthy recently featured “17 Awesome Pieces of Life Advice Straight from Our Readers.”  This one caught my eye:


Immediately, I thought of examples of people who practice this in ways large and small: The chair of my department, who makes an hour’s round trip to my campus to have me sign a required document. The student who stays to help clean up the mess left behind by less courteous classmates. My campus director, who scrambles to resolve unanticipated problems herself rather than imposing on others to deal with the crisis.

“Team Player” is an oft-touted quality on resumes. All eyes will be on Peyton and Cam this weekend, but both will rely on  other “team players” to give them the ball and to protect them while they have it.  The winning team will be the one with players who’ve learned to “look to the needs of others.”

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