One of the most difficult things to do can be working as part of a team.
If a team isn’t careful, conflicts and personality mismatches can cause a team to fall apart and spiral downward into a very dark place. The end result is that nothing gets accomplished.
Having a team work together requires a few basic principles to be followed.
Everyone should respect each other. If this doesn’t happen, the team may not be able to make much progress. Arguments will spin out of control, turning what could have been productive time into a waste of time.
Part of the problem may be that everyone feels threatened and defensive to some degree. The fear of not being heard or of not being taken seriously (your idea being dismissed without due consideration) is a big stumbling block to people working together on a team.
Team members that have strong relationships or power positions may directly (possibly even inadvertently) cause other members to remain silent for fear of stepping on someone’s toes.
There is the fear of retribution outside of the team. This is a big one in Asian countries. Many people will not speak out about something that could positively contribute to a better achievement for the team for fear that there will be retaliation later.
So many dynamics come into play. Though not perfect, team work is an area where America and Americans excel. Working as a team doesn’t mean following one particular leader.
Working as a team has its advantages. For one, teams can accomplish far more if they avoid the downward spirals into uncooperative anarchy that can occur. A team, when running smoothly, has the ability to achieve more than an individual.
That is the true power of a team. When run correctly, teams outperform individuals. As some might put it, ‘teams trample individuals’. That smacks of competition and the competitive mentality. Therefore, I don’t put it that way.
Instead, I like to see the synergy of a team produce something greater than the sum of its parts. Well, that is what synergy means. By working together, much more can be gained.
Respecting the thoughts and opinions of others is something that must exist for a team to function optimally. Always focus on the idea and never the person. Don’t attack the person, only ask questions that challenge the idea in a way that moves things forward and in a productive direction.
For example questions like, ‘are you crazy?’, aren’t very helpful.
Instead, asking a question like, “Bill, how exactly will this idea work when obstacle X comes up”, works much better than, “are you crazy”.
The later can bring discussion to a halt, the former can stimulate additional conversation that can lead to an improved outcome.
Leadership Development [AFF]
Great Leaders build great teams to accomplish great goals. -ATP