The Principles of Teamwork
The principles of teamwork can best be explored by adult learning models. These models are where people try out their teamwork skills in actual tasks and activities. It is not just book learning, it is experiential. Workshops usually focus on case studies that are relevant to the team members. Case studies lead learners back through their experience and encourage them to discuss the positive and negatives of team efforts. This learning concept looks for common threads of thought and weaves together experiences, key concepts and principles in a vivid manner. It is through repetition and vivid learning that organizational behavior is affected. Workshops have the added value of allowing all members to acquire the language and concepts of teamwork at the same time. High-performance team environments usually: 1. Understand the importance of management’s leadership role. 2. Cross training really enhances the strength of the team. 3. Careful management and control of the team’s resources is crucial. 4. Don’t wait for the perfect conditions before starting a task. 5. You really haven’t failed until the team stops trying. 6. Use mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow for the long run. 7. The team has to ensure that all its members are informed and enrolled. 8. Ideas won’t be heard unless you speak up. 9. Feedback is essential for process improvement. 10. Open minds are essential for synergy to occur. 11. The biggest barriers and fears are all perceptions that can be overcome. 12. Leaders have to keep their eyes on the big picture and constantly communicate. 13. Leaders have to guide the process. 14. High-performance teams must develop even their weakest or newest members. 15. Teams do not limit their members by presupposing their limitations. 16. It is important to celebrate success along the journey. 17. Patience fosters empowerment. 18. You can’t push a rope and you can push people in the direction you want. 19. An organization needs to share knowledge and develop people through effective coaching. 20. When a team finds itself in a hole, quit digging. 21. With a little trust you can move remarkably fast through a tough situation. 22. Stretch goals create stretched results. 23. It is okay for adults to request and accept help. 24. Mature adults are willing to admit they have fears. 25. The pitfall of holding back on a good idea is bigger than the pitfall of spending time to hear the ideas. 26. If you can visualize the process and the goal, everyone is in a better position to achieve it. 27. No one person is as smart as all of us. 28. Our limitations are generally driven primarily by our fears. 29. The team can’t afford the cost of uncaring criticism. 30. True leaders will encourage input from everyone. 31. Showing emotion is okay. 32. Teamwork is not easy and it is not automatic. You have to work at it. 33. Teamwork means that you have to understand the paradoxes and manage them well. 34. You have to bring people together if you’re to build enthusiasm and spirit. 35. Collaboration means a lot more than agreeing to stay out of each other’s way. There are number of tools and organizations which will provide an organizational assessment of what’s going on within an organization. The advantage is that the organization is able to see and pinpoint existing strengths and leverage specific elements to improve the organization’s competitive edge. Assessments can also identify problem areas and weaknesses in team performance that are sapping creativity, energy, and commitment from all members of the organization. Such assessments are usually conducted by an individual, that persons supervisor, several peers, and several direct reports. The questions typically fall into around a dozen categories. These categories are often (1) being supportive, (2) defining topics in needs, (3) establishing impact, (4) initiating plans, (5) getting commitments, (6) confronting excuses and resistance, (6) clarifying consequences, (7) not giving up, (8) environmental factors, (9) personal beliefs, and (10) overall relationship satisfaction. Scores on anchored scales are put together by the relationship of the person taking the assessment to others. This gives an overall score in each element as well as scores from the relationships. Looking at the results across an organization can highlight whether it’s a hierarchical problem, a peer problem, or a mix. In any case, the most appropriate intervention can be thoughtfully deployed. Serious payoffs can be expected from a group of individuals that can make the transition to teamwork. It is very empowering and motivating to be part of a tightknit team. The speed, agility, coordination, and creativity of many individuals can create tremendous cost savings, quality improvements, breakthroughs in service, and safety enhancements. Groups that achieve a state of teamwork and also benefit from the intangible rewards such as member satisfaction, higher morale, better retention of trained and talented members, fewer complaints, grievances and stress. In order to make teamwork a win-win benefit to all the stakeholders of an organization, everyone has to step forward and help create powerful teams. The members have to live and behave from the inside-out and be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. The power of the teams and synergy will grow from the strengths of the individual members. By working together on teamwork, ordinary people can produce extraordinary results.