I once worked with someone who always insists on “teamwork.” One day, I asked him a very simple question, “What is teamwork?” The man looked at me with those eyes that reminded of a head teacher back during my primary school days.
The truth is, people who insist on telling others to work and embrace ‘teamwork’ don’t actually have the slightest idea of what the term is all about. Sometimes those who think that they have a team, in actual sense, they have a mob, a confused and disorganized ‘group.’
According to academicians, teamwork is a noun that refers to a combined action of a group, especially when they are effective and efficient. The key words here are ‘combined effort’, ‘effective and efficient’. Therefore, for a group to be called a ‘team’ and for ‘teamwork’ to come out, there must be a ‘combined effort’ and the group must be ‘effective and efficient.’
In most cases, what people describe as ‘teamwork’ are just the efforts of a few members with the group who work effectively and efficiently for the ‘whole group’ to take credit. Someone once said that teamwork is often the efforts of that selfless member that make it look like the ‘team did it.’
There are things that kill teamwork and most people do not seem to know. In his article on the 6 enemies of growth that you must avoid at all cost, Soko Analyst (Steve Biko) points out such things as the culture of blame, desire to please all, big egos, self-doubt, micromanagement and impatience as great obstacles to growth. These are the same things that kill ‘teamwork.’
You cannot have a formidable team, and thereafter, teamwork if you have a habit of blaming them for every failure. You cannot also have a credible team if you are always working to look good in front of all them. Nobody has ever succeeded by sitting on the fence. Make your intentions known and let those who do not like them state their stand, if they do not resonate with the team, it doesn’t hurt if they shaped out.
How do you know that you have a team that works harmoniously towards a common goal? Sometimes, you might think that you have a team, when in real sense, what you have is an expensive hobby. The kind of team you have can either make you or break you. So, what does a team look like?
A team meets deadlines. If you have a group that never honors and meets deadlines, you have no business of saying that you have a team. A group that does not meet deadlines is dangerous to you and your clients. Remember, your client will never give a damn about your problems and why you did not meet deadlines, all they care about is deliver and you have no otherwise but to honor it.
A team has a goal and a plan for everything. Those who are not planning to succeed are only planning to fail. A team has a plan for every move, for every project and for every client. The plan and goal for every client should differ. It is not good to have a uniform plan for each one of your clients.
A team is a ‘partner’ in whatever you have to offer. They know that to succeed, they have to be part of the product or service and they always giving a helping hand to each other to achieve something. The best way to grow as a leader is to partner with those below you.
A team has defined roles. Teamwork does not always mean that members work on a similar thing together. It also means having a clearly stated out roles for each member with the end result being for the benefit of the whole crew and the business in general.
A team is mutually accountable. Teams accept responsibility as individuals and as a team. They don’t blame one another for team mistakes and failures. No one should spend any time, useless time, in personal justifications. They should celebrate their successes together and recognize special performances and contributions that each team member makes to the total work of the team.
So, what does teamwork mean to you?