Team Work - A Challenge of Character
Over the years there has been much ado about team work, the value of teams, the ups and downs, the pros the cons! Some appear to work and others fail, why? Can your business benefit from a team work approach or not?
As people we are 'complex beings' It never ceases to amaze me how we often
gravitate to negative ways of thinking about others when we ourselves (if we are
honest) have just as many flaws and faults. We often find ourselves thinking
about the glass half empty instead of the glass half full. Life and business can
be a very positive experience.
Having been in the workforce for over 25 years have given me the opportunity to observe trends and over time see what works and what doesn't, and however more importantly why?
From junior clerk to CEO and President of businesses it is my opinion that there is nothing new under the sun.
Re-badged ideas and principals have been operating for centuries. From armies to seminaries we can observe and learn that humankind has arranged itself in team structures, some successful, some failures.
Take William Wallace, the plucky Scotsman who organised teams (bandits) against the English oppression.
From good to evil nations and people have banded together and achieved more than they could have alone. This is the key, that alone and as individuals we can achieve, however together we can exponentially achieve if we will pay the price of patience and time.
Good teams take time and patience to build!
Over the years the practice of teams in business has often come and gone. It is my observation that over the last 10 years there has been a profound shift in the fundamental way teams operate in that those that are successful appear to be made up of people who have developed a high level of trust in each other and have had a heart transformation in that they strive to live authentically, have a high level of self control and common sense.
We appear by nature to be suspicious and untrusting as individuals and this does not lend itself towards team building. The good news is that we can change!
What makes a good team?
A good team is one where team members are allowed a great deal of autonomy. This is usually given as teams prove their trust to management by succeeding in small tasks and are subsequently and progressively delegated more responsibility.
Have you ever noticed that the clock seems to go faster when working cooperatively with other people? Have you ever noticed the creativity and learning that takes place between team members? The off-setting multi-skilling is fantastic for your business.
What causes a team to fail?
As the 3 musketeers once said 'one for all and all for one'
When individuals come together to operate as a team it is critical that they have the hands-on support of management. Individuals need to learn to put aside differences and develop trust and believe that they will be rewarded as a team and individuals. Teams are not only about the team but about your employee's individual's contribution to the team - a fact overlooked to your peril.
Tips for Management
Change is painful for you and your employees.
You may want instant results! This is unlikely to occur and remain sustainable.
You cannot give lip-service to team concepts and demonstrate by your behaviour the opposite.
Over time a team will prove its worth to your business if your persevere with patience and support. You reap what you sow.
Communicate, communicate, and communicate!
Be participative with your employees. The sad truth is that some managers and business owners put more effort into their motor vehicle than their employees.
You cannot hide behind indifference and position and expect your team to produce. You must live authentically. This is sometimes called 'risky living'.
Tips for Employees
Being part of a team is a fantastic opportunity to develop and grow personally and professionally.
If you are placed into a team be realistic and understand that change is painful for you and your other colleagues as well.
Understand your team will have its positives and negatives - be realistic.
Sometimes you may feel undervalued as a team member or be concerned that someone else in the team is being rewarded when you feel you should be. Understand that management is usually aware of what is happening. Behind the scenes management are making changes and these changes are not always in your timeframe. You don't have the full picture.
If you feel you need to say something do so respectfully. Don't put your manager in a corner forcing them to make a decision. Be patient?
Understand that one of the greatest challenges facing business today is to get 'good employees'. Your manager is well aware that he/she needs to keep you.
How to develop a team in your business
Building good solid relationships anywhere takes time and effort. You must be patient!
Ask yourself the question - can my business benefit from team structures?
Do your homework and understand the cost in time and money it will take to get the desired outcomes your business is looking for. Patience and commitment is the key.
Do not lose your nerve. Take advice when you need it.
Communicate to employees - communication is the glue that holds teams and relationships together. It is reliably reported that up to 85% of divorce can be traced back to a lack of communication about money! Take your employees with you; explain to them the benefits; flexible working hours, team bonus for agreed outcomes, rewards from higher productivity, job certainty, and prestige.
Relationships - relationships are a critical strategic structure within society and any business. Good relationships can grow your business while bad relationships tear it down. You cannot escape from this principal.
Structure - ensure structures are in place for teams to grow.
Time - it takes time to build a good team but the rewards can be outstanding for the business and employees.
Having worked in teams and put them together I can recommend a team structure where both the business and individuals are committed to the team and demonstrate this by their behaviour.
Remember, your life and conduct are like a book - people, family and friends read you and see what is, not what you think is!
If you demonstrate patience and put time into developing a team environment built on trust you will succeed. Your business will increase its profits, your employee turnover will go down and your business will be admired.
The choice is yours.