segunda-feira, 24 de outubro de 2016


ABCs for Managers who Lead – T is for Teamwork

Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Team means Together Everyone Achieves More! – Author Unknown

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – African proverb

From earliest times, family groups, tribes, and communities resulted in the survival of the human race. With the development and increasing sophistication of the brain, our ancestors learned that these groups gave them the benefits of strength against their enemies and successful strategies in hunting their food. Whether members of the group were highly skilled with spears, had the gift of healing or bore the children, each member’s contribution to the group contributed to survival.

Although many of us still live and work in communities, our sense of self has grown. What was a unique contribution to a tribe or group in prehistoric times has turned into individualism and self-reliance. Except in sports and maybe in our families, we have lost much of the sense of working with and for the benefit of a group – teamwork.

Teamwork is the quintessential contradiction of a society grounded in individual achievement.- Marvin R. Weisbord, international consultant.

However, teams and groups have benefits even today, some of them can even be categorized as survival benefits. Here are some examples of the modern day benefits of teamwork:
  1. Teams allow us to complete large complex tasks for the benefit of our societies. Whether these tasks are providing medical care, developing policies to care for the poor and sick, innovating new technologies to make communications easier and faster, or building new bridges or cities, they are all complex and require the skills and dedication of many people working together.
  2. Teams, not individuals, get lasting results. Collaboration yields ownership and ownership yields enthusiasm and sustainability.
  3. Teams create and innovate. With many people, there are many ideas to be shared and new ideas to be generated and used.
  4. Teams support their members and provide guidance to members who are struggling or just learning. In fact, one of the stated or unstated role of teams is to help the members succeed in their individual jobs as well as success as a group.

One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites. ~Jin Kwon, martial arts master


Teaming well

Strong and effective teams have the following characteristics(1):
  • Built on a strong foundation of trust. Building and maintaining trust in teams requires good communications, demonstrations of competency by the team members, willingness to be vulnerable to the group, and an assumption of positive intent on the part of all team members.
  • Able to manage conflict. In fact, strong and effective teams encourage and thrive on respectful conflict and regular feedback because this means that they are generating a diversity of ideas and are fully engaged in the creative process. Artificial harmony creates stagnation and may result in the team taking actions that are not fully supported by all of the team members or just not optimal.
  • Committed to the task and the other members of the team. Team members are inspired to go above and beyond in their dedication to team results and to each other. With this commitment, the team is more important than any individual team member and team members are inspired to work for the common good.
  • Hold each other accountable. The best teams have clearly defined high standards and expect team members to live up to them. Team members bring their skills and capabilities and are accountable to each other for using them for the benefit of the team and achieving team results.
  • Pay attention to results. We say that “results speak for themselves.” If teams obtain the results they seek, they are effective. If they don’t, there is something going on below the surface (e.g. unexpressed or resolved conflicts, fear, investment in the status quo, hidden agendas, etc.).

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Meade

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