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Does Your Team Really Practice Teamwork?

The word “team” refers to a group of people that meet over time in order to complete a project and then wind up or a group operating solely as a team with the leadership role alternating. Here, we are using ‘team” as a synonym for “team work”. Though organizations group people into teams, these teams do not practice “team work”. Members talk to each other during a break or over lunch, but the majority of the work gets done as individuals, which cripples organizations as they grow bigger and bigger. When people work together in an environment of trust and accountability, they tend to put aside turf issues and politics and focus on the tasks at hand. This helps one identify new opportunities, overcome barriers, and builds a momentum that leads to the following three benefits: 1. Better problem solving 2. Greater productivity 3. More effective use of resources Sans the spirit of team work among employees, there will be no shared performance goals, no mutual accountability, and no joint work efforts which increase productivity. Now, what exactly are the benefits of team work?

Openness and Transparency

The more reluctant people are to expressing their ideas, the more suspicion and distrust will thrive. When real teamwork happens, team members trust each other, and tend to be more open and honest with one another.

Acceptance of Assignments

Each one of the team members would be happier if he/she could choose his/her work. This might sound unrealistic but still, when real teamwork exists, the members willingly accept assignments. Being motivated by peer pressure, they also strive harder to get their jobs done the first time and to meet deadlines.

Understood and Accepted Goals

A team needs direction, purpose, and goals. Once they are accepted by the team members, they work collaboratively to achieve them. Committed to accomplishing these goals, they assist one another to realize them.

Progress and Results Assessed

Teamwork requires members to be result-oriented as opposed to process-oriented. The focus must be on their objectives, and their activities directed toward achieving clear goals. The team assesses its progress periodically, under the direction of a leader. This also serves to guide future team action.

Shared Trust

Mutual trust between team members is the hallmark of a healthy team. Despite occasional conflict, members get along well and enjoy each other’s company. They cooperate to get the work done.

Involvement and Participation

There are basically three types of people in the world: those who do not know or care about what are happening, those who watch what others do, and those who make things happen. For teamwork to happen, members must be involved in their work and participate in team activities. What they say and do counts for something.

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