“You aren’t being a team player.” “You always think you’re right.” “You are so stubborn.”
The irony is that these criticisms only sting if you’re a pro-social, agreeable person – they wouldn’t work on sociopaths or narcissists. So take them with a grain of salt.
It helps to know that the people who make these complaints often are tipping their own hands: do they raise the criticism only when you aren’t following their agenda? If they are peeved at your independence because it thwarts their desire for control of your energy, time, and commitment, then it’s hard to see that the moral burden rests on you.
Any person who asks you for your time, energy, or commitment bears the responsibility of persuading and earning the deal. Trying to convince you to submit to their direction by impugning your character for not submitting is a cheap trick. The value of being a team player depends entirely on the worthiness of the team’s goal, and (to a lesser degree) the worthiness of the leader and other people on the team.
If a goal is good and a team is good, being a team player is a very good thing. You would do well to step up to support the team without even being asked. But it’s not an inherent character flaw if you aren’t disposed to go along with what other people want. And it’s not an inherent sign of virtue if you cooperate as a matter of course.
Photo by Hannah Reding on Unsplash