Over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed people talking a lot more about the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Open-office layouts have become the norm and team productivity tools have exploded in popularity.
Some see this emphasis on open collaboration as a passing fad or a way to lower overheads. But a growing body of research confirms that when people work together, smartly, it can unleash energy that boosts creativity, productivity, engagement, communication and efficiency.
Each individual has unique gifts, and talents and skills. When we bring them to the table and share them for a common purpose, it can give companies a real competitive advantage.
A ‘team’ is not just people who work at the same time in the same place. A real team is a group of very different individuals who enjoy working together and are committed to working cohesively to help their organisation achieve its common goals and fulfil its purpose.
A team is not a group of people who work together
A team is a group of people who trust each other
Most likely, they are not all equal in experience, talent, or education, but they are similar in one vitally important way – their commitment to good of the organisation. A leader’s role is greatly diminished without their team, and any group of people – your family, your workplace, or your community – will get the best results by working as a team.
To build a strong team, you must see someone else’s strength as a complement to your weakness, not a threat to your position or authority. Great leaders aren’t know-it-alls who continuously try to outshine everyone. They listen to their teams, ask the right questions, and give everyone the chance to contribute. Instead of trying to do it all, they find people who can do it better.
You don’t inspire your teammates by showing them how amazing you are. You inspire them by showing them how amazing they are -Robyn Benincasa
At the end of the day, it’s not about being the smartest person in the room. It’s about building a team with the most intelligent people you can find, and inspiring them to believe in the impossible.
Build a great team. No one is an expert on everything; the strongest businesses are built on the smartest people, not on one person.
Building a great team requires a leader who can inspire their team to believe anything is possible. That’s the essence of leadership; helping your people reach their full potential and helping your team maximise their gifts to become the very best version of themselves.
What makes you effective as a leader is not the title you hold. Rather, it’s demonstrating an unrelenting focus on helping others succeed in their collective efforts; because when you take care of your team, it often reflects the service they provide to their customers.
Clients do not come first, employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients – Sir Richard Branson
There may be no ‘I’ in team, but being part of a team can help you grow. By sharing information and essentially cross-training each other, each individual member of the team can flourish. You might discover new concepts from colleagues with different experiences. You can also learn from someone else’s mistakes, which helps you side-step future errors.
You might even learn something new about yourself. We all have blind-spots about our behaviour and strengths that we may be unaware of – and feedback from a team-member can expose them. Recognising these strengths and addressing the weaknesses can make you a better team-member, and even a better person; maybe a better listener, too. That’s a skill you can grow in… and then take home and use to improve your family interactions
Let me just say when people with different perspectives come together in group brainstorms, innovative ideas can rise to the surface – with one caveat. Research shows this can only happen when communication within the team is open and collaborative.
The most creative solutions can only come up when there’s a level of trust that lets team members ask ‘stupid’ questions, propose out-there ideas, and receive constructive criticism.
But what happens to that same team of 10 designers a year down the line, when they’ve learnt all they can from each other? They’ll soon start to compete with one another, to prove their ability and chase promotion or other incentives within your organisation.
Provided the right challenge and rewards are in place to promote healthy competition, team performance can keep improving.
Finally, when employees work together and succeed as a team, they form bonds that can turn into trust and friendship. It’s human nature. And it’s great for your organisation, since employees who like and trust each other are more likely to:
- Communicate well with each other
- Support and motivate each other
- Work cooperatively
It’s little wonder successful organisations value teamwork so highly.
The author is a Risk assessment and Cost reduction Consultant, relationship coach, writer