How to Develop Teamwork?
For about 20 years, as leaders, coaches, consultants, facilitators, and trainers of teams, a great majority of our work has been about solving problems with teamwork. Through all of our experience, what’s ALWAYS part of the solution to any teamwork challenges – people on the team being team players. As for the question – what comes first, team players or teams and teamwork? The answer is always team players. For many of us, we get that this seems basic, but it can be difficult and we can get it very wrong.
There is a lot of great information available in this world on teamwork and team building, which is wonderful. What’s not so good is that much of the information on teamwork and team building is based on the assumption that team members have the basic team player skills that make the teamwork and team building all possible. If you’ve ever done training for teams before that hasn’t worked, and assuming the training was reputable, lack of team player skills would have to always be an underlying cause. Even if it was just one person, an outlier, who wasn’t a team player, that’s all that it takes some times. And honestly, we wouldn’t recommend doing any team building or teamwork training without first, getting the team player skills right.
Today, more than ever before, there is an absolute necessity for understanding fundamentals to being a team player. Team player skills need to be calibrated. Think about this: many people first learn about being a team player during their upbringing. As a result, people may have learned different information, people may practice what they’ve learned to different degrees, and people may have developed some good and bad habits. Then we bring these people together as adults on all kinds of teams, and we rarely take the time to calibrate all of our learnings to define the team players that we want and need to be for each other. Clarifying and aligning team player skills has never been so necessary with the diversity and challenges within 21st century teams. We lack consistency on what it means to be a team player. Until we’re all on the same page with the awareness, skills, and knowledge needed, it can make developing a sustainable victorious team very difficult and take a very long time.
We also need to challenge the phrase, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” From a spelling and metaphorical perspective, yes that’s true; from a real life team perspective, no, that’s not true. There are ‘Is’ on teams, that’s what they are made up of – Individuals. You have individual players. Before you have a team, you have ‘Is’ (individual players) that are either team players or ‘Is’ (individual players) that are not team players – or some combination of the two. In some card and casino games, before the game is played, people need to ante up, meaning, putting our initial stake (share) into the pot. Similarly, in a team environment, before we can achieve team building and develop teamwork, we need people to ante up as team players. To take the analogy one step further – there is also a minimum ante. We need people to ante up with some minimum team player skills, because it’s the team player skills that make the team building and teamwork possible.
Where to Start to Achieve Teamwork?
We all have choices. We all have influence. For teamwork, the most positive choice that we can make – being a team player. Also for teamwork, the most positive influence that we can have – being a team player. For one topical example, just imagine the difference that this can make in politics of all countries….
Being team players is truly the ONE BIGGEST difference maker to teamwork.
We have put together a complimentary video training series on the Team Player Fundamentals, which is about the four foundational fundamentals of being a team player: positive attitudes, open-mindedness, respect, and accountability.
It’s totally free – no credit card or anything required. (There is an option to get our online workshop at the end only if you want to learn more about the four foundational fundamentals.)
We hope that you’ll check out our complimentary video training series. We’re confident that you’ll learn something to help you as a leader and team player – create the positive.