Archive for teamwork
Have you ever been a part of a team that doesn’t seem to get anything accomplished? Where the team may work and work, but nothing actually gets done? If so, you’ve probably been on a team that lacked vision.
Vision works like a rudder on a ship. Without it, the ship may travel a distance, but not necessarily in the right direction. With it, the ship reaches the destination by the shortest route possible.
Vision determines the direction of the team.
Champion basketball coach Pat Riley once said, “Teamwork requires that everyone’s efforts flow in a single direction. Feelings of significance happen when a team’s energy takes on a life of its own.”
With vision, a team has energy, and team members feel like they’re doing something of value. So if you’re the leader of a team, how do you impart vision to your people?
You transfer the vision both emotionally and logically.
What is needed to emotionally transfer a vision?
- Credibility. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. Your people need to know that you can be trusted.
- Passion. Team members will not be excited about a vision that the leader doesn’t care about. They need to see and feel your passion before they embrace it.
- Relationship. How well do your teammates know you? How well do you know them? People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Timing. For a vision to connect, its timing needs to be right. The right decision at the wrong time is still the wrong decision.
- Felt need. This is relatively easy, because we all need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Revealing how your vision meets that need can lead to emotional buy-in.
What is needed to logically transfer a vision?
- A realistic understanding of the situation today. A firm grasp on reality gives your vision a starting point, and makes team members more willing to partner in achieving it.
- An experienced team. How familiar are team members with the specific problem? The more they’ve dealt with similar situations, the more confident they’ll be in their ability to tackle this challenge. Make it your goal to show them how their previous experience has prepared them.
- A sound strategy. Do you have a game plan that you can articulate clearly and succinctly? Team members need to know where they’re going before they can fully accept the responsibility for getting there.
- Acceptance of responsibility by the leader(s). Do you embrace your role in achieving the vision? Are you willing to be held accountable? People need to know that you’ll do your part.
- Celebration of each victory. A big vision is filled with many small goals. Celebrating victories in those areas helps team members track their progress and find the motivation to continue on the journey.
- Evaluation of each defeat. When the team misses a goal, it’s important to acknowledge that and communicate how the team can do better moving forward.
Great vision precedes great achievement. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, a leader of troops during World War II, wrote that “every single soldier must know, before he goes into battle, how the little battle he is to fight fits into the larger picture, and how the success of his fighting will influence the battle as a whole.” People on your team need to know why they’re fighting. This helps them buy in emotionally and logically, so that they can work together with you to achieve victory.
When someone you don’t like or respect suggests something, what is your first reaction? I bet it’s to dismiss it. You’ve heard the phrase, “Consider the source.” That’s not a bad thing to do, but if you’re not careful, you may very likely throw out the good with the bad.
Don’t let the personality of someone you work with cause you to lose sight of the greater purpose, which is to add value to the team and advance the organization. If that means listening to the ideas of people with whom you have no chemistry, or worse, you have a difficult history, so be it. Set aside your pride and listen. And in cases where you must reject the ideas of others, make sure you reject only the idea and not the person.
~ From The Maxwell Daily Reader
Two weeks ago, I shared some of my favorite quotes on service. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know that I love to share quotes. But on Twitter in particular, I’m limited by the 140-character restriction. So I often enjoy sharing the longer quotes here. I hope today’s selection of quotes on teamwork inspires and challenges you .
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. ~Andrew Carnegie
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it. ~Halford E. Luccock
We should not only use all the brains we have, but all that we can borrow. ~Woodrow Wilson
Each of us must make the effort to contribute to the best of our ability according to our individual talents. And then we put all the individual talents together for the highest good of the group. … Understanding that the good of the group comes first is fundamental to being a highly productive member of a team. ~John Wooden
There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves. ~Lyndon B. Johnson
Good teams always have common goals. When you find that goals of certain members differ from the team’s, then the team will usually do poorly. ~Red Auerbach
No one of us is more important than the rest of us. ~Ray Kroc
The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play. ~Bill Russell
I can do what you can’t do, and you can do what I can’t do; together we can do great things. ~Mother Teresa
Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. ~Vince Lombardi
The key elements in the art of working together are how to deal with change, how to deal with conflict, and how to reach our potential…the needs of the team are best met when we meet the needs of individual persons. ~Max De Pree
No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow. ~Swedish Proverb
A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. ~Mohandas K. Gandhi
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
By far the greatest obstacle to success that I see in others is a poor understanding of people. A while back the Wall Street Journal published an article on the reasons that executives fail. At the top of the list was a person’s inability to effectively relate to others.
One day I was talking to someone who was complaining about not winning a business contract that he had bid on. “It wasn’t fair,” he told me. “All the people involved knew each other, and we didn’t have a chance. It’s all politics.” But then what he went on to describe wasn’t politics. It was relationships.
Authors Carole Hyatt and Linda Gottlieb indicate that people who fail on the job commonly cite “office politics” as the reason for their failures, but the reality is that what they call politics is often nothing more than regular interaction with other people.
If you haven’t learned how to get along with people, you will always be fighting a battle to succeed. On the other hand, making people skills a strength will take you farther than any other skill you develop. People like to do business with people they like. Or to put it the way President Theodore Roosevelt did: “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “It’s lonely at the top” associated with leadership. But is isolated leadership really effective? I don’t think so. In fact, I believe that, “He that thinketh he leadeth, and hath no one following, is only taking a walk.” If you’re all alone as a leader, are you really leading?
Losing touch with your people is a huge leadership landmine. It will damage your credibility and destroy your influence. How do you avoid losing touch?
- Recognize the landmine. Unfortunately, losing touch is an easy thing to do. A leader can be tempted to withdraw by both success (“I don’t need to see my people”) and failure (“I don’t want to see my people”). Understanding that it can happen is the first step to avoiding it.
- Value people. All leadership is influence. And what is influence if it doesn’t involve other people? No matter what your organization produces or does, it needs people to function. YOU need people to lead. Leadership becomes effective when you acknowledge that people are your most appreciable asset, and treat them accordingly.
- Avoid positional thinking. Your position or title shouldn’t define your leadership. That’s positional thinking, and it will cause you to disconnect as a leader. Again, leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. I make it my goal to see the people I lead as teammates, not employees. We work together toward a common goal.
- Love the people you lead. Do you see your people as cogs in the machinery of your organization, and yourself as the operator? They can tell if you don’t care about them. And I’ve said for a long time that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Loving your people makes the difference in their willingness to follow you into anything, no matter how hard the battle.
- Understand the Law of Significance. This is from my book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. In it, I explain that one is too small a number to achieve greatness. Many years ago, I realized that I needed the help of other people to achieve what I felt called to do. I now believe that any dream worth dreaming will be bigger than the dreamer. If you can achieve your dream by yourself, your dream is too small!
The most effective leaders stay connected to their people. This gives them the greatest amount of influence, and allows the leader and the team to achieve their big-picture goals together.
What about you? If you’re in a position of leadership, are your followers close at hand? Or have you allowed yourself to lose touch?