Unlocking the Door to Teamwork

By George Teagarden

When You’re on a Team, it’s Best to Leave Your Individual Interests at Home

Teamwork as defined in Webster’s as a joint action by a group of people, in which each person subordinates his or her individual interests and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group.

In prior years, when employees got together for a meeting it was generally by department or some other group designation. For the most part, this is the way projects were managed. In later years, teamwork has become an important part of work culture.

Teamwork operates much differently than department groups from this point of view. All team members are encouraged to express their opinions and questions. It is important for team members to listen to each person’s point-of-view. Members participate equally in the decisions made. Team members must take on an attitude of community and not have to worry about offending another team member if he or she does not agree. This is where teamwork comes into play; the team decides, not the individual. All of this will work as long as the team is made up of competent people, willing to collaborate and have high standards.

The goal must be clearly defined by the team leader so that all team members understand what is expected of the team. A team leader must be good at leadership to keep the teams progress in check. The team must be results driven to achieve outstanding results.

Harvard Business School recognizes a team as small group of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose and performance goals. Teams involve more people, therefore more resources, more ideas and more energy than one individual can. Kerry Walls, a member of  consultant and author John Maxwell’s Injoy team, observes, “Spinning more plates doesn’t increase your talent; it increases the likelihood of dropping one.”

Many colleges and universities today have added projects requiring teamwork to classes. It’s important that students understand and can work in a team culture because many businesses now look for teamwork skills when evaluating new potential employees.

Remember, the team gets credit for the victories and gets blamed for the losses.

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5 Responses to Unlocking the Door to Teamwork

  1. Great article… thanks for sharing…

    I agree that an “attitude of community” is required for great things to be accomplished, and would add that this attitude is not something that occurs without planning end effort. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and building a collaborative team requires a set of tools and activities and skills just like any other project might!

  2. Great information,

    The part that I like the best is where it says “as long as the team is made up of competent people!”

  3. KL Baker says:

    Nice article.

    Many educational programs recognize that giving their students a more industry standard learning experience means having them work in teams. There are very few professions where the individual works isolated without input from another person. In addition, many of the best solutions come from a collaborative effort where good ideas are built upon each other- influenced by the different perspectives (of the team members).

  4. Melissa says:

    I see this is a little dated but wow what an AWESOME article. Reminds us that teams must be made up of people that compliment each others skills. I’ve specifically built my team at work of people that compliment each other. I think sometimes this is easily forgotten by the drivers of the team who strive to compete and put themselves ahead of the best when the reality is that they need each other.

  5. Team work is very important in today’s business climate, thanks for the article!

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