Anyone who has been on a commercial airplane has heard the familiar message in the emergency procedures briefing: “In the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, the oxygen masks will appear. Put on your own mask first, and then assist others.” As a parent and as someone who generally likes to look out for others, to be asked to look after myself first always strikes me as a bit of a selfish perspective. However, I know it is a legitimate and important step. If I pass out from a loss of oxygen, I will not be able to help anyone else at all, and I will be a burden to others.
What makes people want to work together? If there were a formula, it would be easy to continually create the conditions for smooth-functioning teams and highly efficient meetings. We could collect three people with x trait and two people with y trait, call them a team and – presto bingo – a high functioning group. If only it were so simple.