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TeamworkThe importance of collaboration and teamwork in modern organizations can't be overstated. Why is it so important? Because of complexity for one thing. Today's work is too complex for one person or even small groups to accomplish without extensive collaboration and coordination. Further, employees are better engaged and more productive if they genuinely feel part of something, that they belong and are valued. This puts a premium on relationship building. Finally, intelligent knowledge workers want to contribute, not just be told what to do, hence they want to participate as fully as possible in determining their organization's fate.

Fostering Teamwork

  • Genuine teamwork does not recognize level, position or status.
  • You get what you pay for - if you want teamwork, you must reward it.
  • Exhorting team effort while rewarding stars gets you more stars.
  • But don't stifle individuality and healthy conflict in the name of teamwork.
  • Some managers advocate team work but don't practice it. They tell their teams how to behave more as teams but they don't draw the HOW of this out of them. So, they aren't practicing what they're preaching.
  • Most organizations reward individual success, making real teamwork extremely difficult.
  • Avoid 'groupthink' by rewarding openness - thank people for bad news and for disagreeing with you. Frowning, scowling and defending your own views will turn teamwork into conformity.
  • Excessive use of authority, however subtle, creates 'yes men' (women).
  • This is not to say that you need to accept endless discussion.
  • It is HOW you resolve disputes not whether you do.
  • Increasing complexity = more specialists, = more pooling of ideas = more teamwork.
  • The days are long gone when one person can call all the shots.
  • Genuine teamwork reduces isolation and makes change less frightening.
  • Effective teams use a process to review regularly how they are doing.
  • Team members contribute specialist knowledge, but they should be encouraged to be generalists in the way they behave in the team - at different times leading, enhancing harmony, generating new ideas.
  • Good leaders understand how team members differ in terms of their personalities and hidden agendas.
  • It is important to work WITH your team to achieve successful team building. Together, agree what team work means for your organization, what should be the ground rules, what are your success factors and how you will measure success.