Leaders are always talking about teamwork and how important it is. But what does teamwork really mean, and how do you accomplish it?
Teamwork has more to do with how you think than with what you do. It is a mindset that fuels common people to attain uncommon results.
As cliched as the statement "united we stand, divided we fall" may be, it is the secret behind most business successes.
It is crucial to incorporate and blend teamwork into one's business culture and working methods. It is about finding strength in unity.
The complexities of today's business world require more collaboration than ever. Teamwork will positively distinguish leaders and businesses from competitors. If you're both a leader and a team player, you're in the strongest position for success.
Team building isn't a mystical process. It involves the combined efforts of others and gets buy-in and accountability from them. It incorporates mutual respect for each other's opinions and capabilities and allows for honest communication.
Answer the following questions to help you start thinking about building a team or being a better team member or leader.
* What's the definition of teamwork? Teamwork means that, more than 75 percent of the time, more than 75 percent of the players put the interests of the team first, even when doing so requires more effort, time or money -- or all three.
* What's a real-life example of team-building behavior? Here's one: when someone offers to assist a co-worker without thinking of getting credit or thanks. This extends to customers, clients and fellow employees who aren't, strictly speaking, your team members.
* What is the role of the strongest team member? The strongest member is the one who shores up and willingly compensates for the deficiencies of other members and doesn't call attention to the fact he or she is doing it.
* What should be the mindset of all team members? "I don't care who dropped the ball. If I can stretch to reach it, I'll pick it up and get it back in play."
* What are some team-building techniques? Simply stated, teamwork is less "me" and more "we." If you think this is too basic, consider that belonging to the group is the workplace prize for many people. Shine the spotlight on each member of the team, regardless of their ability level. Smart team builders share credit and absorb blame, canvass the team regularly for opinions and respond instantly to concerns. Team builders never suppress dissent.
* How could you be more useful to other team members? Give support and unrequested assistance in ways that don't cause others to lose face. When you pick up the ball, be sure the colleague you're helping doesn't feel diminished. Coach, don't correct.
All credit should keep flowing to the team players rather than surrounding and isolating the team leader. If the leader has the right mindset, he or she shouldn't want that to happen anyway.
Brad Larsen is a life coach and corporate consultant from Northern Utah. He can be reached at email@example.com.