YOU KNOW THAT teamwork isn't just important, it's essential. It motivates individuals toward a common goal, it grows your team members' ability to cooperate, it creates a reciprocal learning environment, and itensures projects stay on track, even if part of the team is absent.
A study done by the University of Phoenix reveals that while most people acknowledge the benefits of collaboration and teamwork, they’d still be happier working alone. Not because they think they’re more effective alone, but because they have experienced first-hand the challenges of working with a team of others. Conflict. Imbalance. Distrust. Dysfunction. All of the elements that work against what teamwork is supposed to be about.
How does it fall apart? Or, a better question might be, "How can you keep it all together?" You can start by making an effort to staff your department with the right team members (remember what we said about successful onboarding?). Not just a balanced blend of skills, but a harmony of personalities. The kind of group that complements each other; that learns from one another; that might actually LIKE each other. Does this sound unimaginable? You may not be able to have every element, but the more you work toward this kind of compatibility, the more you’ll achieve the collaborations you’re looking for.
The next step is to foster a mentality of abundance. That is, one person’s success never steals from another’s. The ability to achieve, grow, and be acknowledged is not finite—there is always enough to go around. Too often on teams, we see jealousy and rivalry among members. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of maturity. But, even those who are more refined can fall prey.
Your job is to help every individual appreciate what their peers bring to the table. And, to help them understand that an entity with two heads (or more) is not an unwieldy beast, but a being that has the ability to see every option, no matter where it’s standing.
Few initiatives at Baudville are put in the hands of one person to achieve. Not only is it not practical, it’s not effective. Why tap in to one brain when you can draw on the ideas of many? Recently, we challenged our entire staff to invite one coworker to lunch and return with an idea to grow our business. Imagine how tough this would have been had we asked each person to achieve that task alone. The collaboration and idea sharing that resulted was phenomenal, and each duo got to enjoy the pride and accomplishment of presenting a thoughtful idea. Moreover, acknowledgement for the outcome was shared, and not able to be owned solely by either person.
||If you want to help your team appreciate the benefits and value their peers bring to collaborations—as well as why these collaborations are important—try a simple exercise. Ask team members to complete this statement for each of their immediate coworkers: "Our team is better with _______ on it because _______." By compelling your team to consider their coworkers' contributions, you help them see that, as a whole, they are better together than on their own.