More and more, people are now aware that the team you surround yourself with is a big deal if you want to have results. Yet, building such a great team is not just that easy. It takes time to find the right people, it takes time to train them, and more important, it takes leadership and skills to keep them. All these for one reason: good people know that they are good and they will not hesitate to leave your boat if they have the feeling that you don’t have what it takes to make the group excel.
The legendary consultant and author on management, Peter Drucker, says this about teamwork:
“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.”
They don’t think “I.” They think “we;” they think “team.”
They understand their job to be to make the team function.
They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit…This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.”
I personally have the feeling that what is missing to lot of suffering organizations today is that sense of leadership. Most of the decision-makers act as managers. We lead people and manage things. With that said, managers are not responsible for taking the organization where it ought to be, leaders are…and the #1 pillar to be applied in teamwork or in building great teams is to follow Peter Drucker recommendation and use the “We” versus the “I” or the “you”. It’s not you have to increase your sales, but “WE” have to find out how to increase sales. It’s not “I” made it work out, but “WE” did it.
I recently stumbled upon this excerpt from Pulling Together…The 10 Rules For High Performance Teams by John Murphy. I let you enjoy the reading of his #1 rule.
At the center of every high performance team is a common purpose – a mission that rises above and beyond each of the individual team members. To be successful, the team’s interests and needs come first. This requires “we-opic” vision (“What’s in it for we?”), a challenging step up from the common “me-opic” mind-set.
Effective team players understand that personal issues and personality differences are secondary to team demands. This does not mean abandoning who you are or giving up your individuality. On the contrary, it means sharing your unique strengths and differences to move the team forward. It is this “we-opic” focus and vision – this cooperation of collective capability – that empowers a team and generates synergy.
Cooperation means working together for mutual gain – sharing responsibility for success and failure and covering for one another on a moment’s notice. It does not mean competing with one another at the team’s expense, withholding important data or information to be “one up” on your peers, or submitting to “groupthink” by going along so as not to make waves. These are “rule breakers,” that are direct contradictions to the “team first” mind-set.
High performance teams recognize that it takes a joint effort to synergize, generating power above and beyond the collected individuals. It is with this spirit of cooperation that effective teams learn to capitalize on individual strengths and offset individual weaknesses, using diversity as an advantage.
Effective teams also understand the importance of establishing cooperative systems, structures, incentives and rewards. We get what we inspect, not what we expect. Think about it. Do you have team job descriptions, team performance reviews and team reward systems? Do you recognize people by pitting them against standards of excellence, or one another? What are you doing to cultivate a team-first, cooperative environment in this competitive, “me-opic” world?
To embrace the team-first rule, make sure your team purpose and priorities are clear. What is your overall mission? What is your game plan? What is expected of each team member? How can each member contribute most effectively? What constants will hold the team together? Then stop and ask yourself, are you putting the team first?