I often ask participants in training (both leaders and non-leaders) if they understand ‘team work’. They look at me in a surprised manner as if to say, ‘Duh.’
In fact, I have never met an individual who has said they don’t understand teamwork! Yet, from both research and my personal observation, it is estimated that 20 percent of the work force (both leaders and non-leaders) really don’t know what this behavior means in every day application. Just think of it, one out of every 5 of your direct reports are not aware of, or choose to ignore, team behavior.
When you take a moment to think about it, teamwork is a rather simple concept. Teamwork means giving up some self-interest and replacing it with team interests. However, in an increasingly self-absorbed world, this is becoming less frequent in the workplace. So, what does a leader do to improve team execution? Effective team leaders realize that there are land mines, within each team, that can either benefit or reduce the team’s effectiveness. These include (1) Trust, (2) Personality Differences, (3) Generational Issues, (4) Cliques, (5) Lack of Accountability, and (6) Understanding Conflict (both good and bad). If these team elements are not managed well, a less effective team with troublesome team behavior is the natural result.
Good team leaders understand that to gain synergy (the number one benefit of teams), they will strive to develop a culture which takes advantage of potential landmines and use the team’s generational and personality diversity to enhance team effectiveness. They understand that only by acting in a trusting manner can they create trust in the team and by holding people accountable they gain respect from the team. They will not tolerate ‘ cliques’ or any behavior which does not enhance the team culture. They will give the team needed training and tools to do their jobs. They will celebrate team success and lead through the difficult periods in a confident and positive manner.
Leading teams is a challenging task and understanding team dynamics is essential to team leadership. While team leadership is challenging, being the team leader of a winning team is one of life’s most memorable events. If you’re ready to take your team to the next level, sign up for our Leading Teams to High Performance program today! The Center for Management Development offers a variety of certificate programs for those interested in Wichita leadership training. We also offer onsite training and certificate services throughout the state of Kansas and the country.
Dr. Hackett attended public schools in his native state, Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1967 with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance. After he felt the call of the classroom, he returned to the University of Oklahoma as a NDEA fellow and received his Ph.D. in Marketing and Management. In 1973, he joined the faculty of the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, as a Professor of Marketing.