‘Me to We’ or ‘We to Me’?
An interesting paradox.
Those of us concerned with our career do our best to perform well as an individual so as to get noticed and hopefully move up the management ladder. When we become a manager for the first time however we have to perform a necessary shift in mindset in order to continue to succeed. We have to move from a “me” to a “we” mentality.
The factor on the basis of which we were promoted in the first place – excellent individual performance – is no longer the only main factor which will help us to move on in our managerial role. In fact, the new imperative is the opposite – focus on everyone else rather than just yourself so as to get the best performance from the team and reach the objectives set.
As we move up the management ladder in our career, we have to move from an individual to a wider context.
This is the opposite of what is happening in our societies. Since the beginning of the 1900s, and even more so following the Second World War, society is more concerned with the ‘individual’ rather than the ‘community’.
Individualism is the idea that “the individual’s life belongs to him and that he has an inalienable right to live it as he sees fit, to act on his own judgment, to keep and use the product of his effort, and to pursue the values of his choosing.” This is not necessarily a negative – some people attribute innovation to the individualistic attitude adopted in these past 100 years.
At the other end of the spectrum there is collectivism where an individual’s rights may need to be suppressed for the greater common good. As one advocate of this idea, A. Maurice Low, puts it, “Man has no rights except those which society permits him to enjoy. From the day of his birth until the day of his death society allows him to enjoy certain so-called rights and deprives him of others; not…because society desires especially to favor or oppress the individual, but because its own preservation, welfare, and happiness are the prime considerations.”
In my opinion, individualism is trumping collectivism right now. At times, the right of the individual may be at odds with the rights of the community. Because of the paradigm shift however, over time, it is the community (rather than the individual) that has to change and redefine its laws to remain in consonance with the individual’s rights and freedoms. Some claim that this paradigm shift will result in an unlivable society. Whether this will be so or whether society will metamorphose into a better one is still to be seen.