This subject is something that I have dedicated a lot of my life to learning. How to function better in a team environment. How to make the acronym T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) true.
I had a long discussion with the owner of our company today about why people can’t seem to work well in a team, and why everyone in our company can’t see our teammates as part of the team.
We had a discussion this morning and had to go on to do other things, but it left me thinking long and hard about it.
After an hour or two I texted him a 3 step process that I have found to work for me. There is obviously more to effective teamwork then just this, but I think it’s a great starting point for anyone…
Steps to Promote Teamwork
- Kill Them With Kindness – This phrase may be a bit overused (mostly because we don’t know how to do this), but it is true. Most of what keeps people from working together are poor attitudes and personality problems. If you can learn to be kind to people, in other words, professional with people, then you will go a long way in promoting good teamwork with that person.
- Never Compromise Your Integrity – Part of being a teammate is having a healthy respect for both your integrity and your co-workers. If you compromise your integrity, what you believe is right, then you will start to resent other people for what they believe. The key here is to get it all out on the table so you can work with it. Don’t ignore the problem. Let your co-worker know that you need to figure out a solution to the problem. And one of the hardest parts with this is to get anyone to recognize that their is a problem in the first place. Word of advice… If anyone has a problem, it’s everyone’s problem. Help them solve it by working together on it.
- Keep reminding people of why we are here – No matter how good you are or how good you think you are, you still need to be reminded about the important things. And probably the most important thing you need to remember is why you are working as a team in the first place. The owner of my company made a good point today. You can either choose to work with people or leave the company. We are all in it together. I tried to compromise by saying that we could split people up who don’t get along with each other. My owner’s response was that we want to treat people like adults, and help them learn and grow. It does no good for them or the company to simply separate them. And my response to him, after the light bulb on my head turned on, was that growth does happen in adversity. We have to face our problems head on, and strive to solve them. In the process we really will learn and go, and be able to handle similar situations much better in the future.
Think hard about these three things the next time you want to promote more teamwork in your organization. These ideas, if implemented correctly, will go a long way toward making your team into the well-oiled machine they deserve to be.