The truth is no one works
alone. Teams, whether established for a special project or ad-hoc, are the backbone of
every company. Employees in companies, big or small, work in an interdependent
environment, as such they participate on many teams.
Weve all had good and
ugly experiences working on teams, and for some companies the mere mention of
word team sends the staff into a frenzy, all virtually run for
cover because they dont want to be picked. Sure when they were eight years old
and got picked last (or not at all) to play baseball they were upset, but now they are
super pleased that they avoided another team assignment.
Assuming the team leader understands the basic mechanics of
managing a team, the key ingredient for creating a good experience rests with how well the
team creates enthusiasm. Whether it is the assignment or a contribution by a team member,
enthusiasm is the difference. Here is what experienced team leaders and participants, over
the years, have told us:
Formula for an enthusiastic team:
- Help each other win and to be right (not wrong).
- Search for ways to make new ideas work.
- Speak positively about the project and team members, at
every opportunity. Erase negativity.
- Ride the "highs" and "lows" by
maintaining a positive attitude.
- Act with courage, take calculated risks, and don't lose
- Have fun. Do everything with enthusiasm. It is contagious.
I should point out that teams which are
constructed poorly are doomed from the start, no matter how enthusiastic the participants
happen to be. Enthusiasm (hence attitude) cannot overcome an "impossible"
mandate that is poorly defined and lacking resources. Every participant of a team
assignment where this is the case, typically views the work as an "ugly"
The opportunity to work with others is a
fantastic way to get things done. It is a focused activity, with a mandate, and dedicated
resources. Each team assignment is a wonderful learning opportunity, particularly as it
relates to knowing the strengths of others, building relationships, learning about the
business, and making a contribution. We feel so much better when our extra efforts are
recognized and appreciated.
The reality is, you'll have the kind of team experience
that you expect, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, Virginia there are enthusiastic teams
that accomplish much in today's busy work world. You just have to want it.
Feel free to use this
article, just give credit where credit is due!
Copyright 1997 © Sid Ridgley