What really is teamwork? What do we call teams? Well, let’s put the concept in proper perspective. Recently, a naming ceremony was taking place for a baby that God had just given to a nice couple in the neighborhood. And two friends arrived who had previously decided to contribute 20,000 naira each and give it to the baby’s parents. One gave his own N20,000 to his friend so that he could add his own N20,000 to complete the agreed N40,000.
Instead of adding his own N20,000, the clever friend simply put the N20,000 in his pocket, took his check and wrote “Pay Mr. Good Man the sum of N40,000”, even though he and his friend knew that he had done it. he has no money in his bank account! Would you call these two people friends? They are friends but not compatible. This shows that being friends does not automatically mean that the people involved are intimate. That’s why you have an expression like, “With a friend like you, I don’t need an enemy anymore.” This means that the supposed friend referred to is already like an enemy.
Lack of specification
Like “Friendship”, a compound word loosely used in Nigeria, especially in the corporate environment is “Teamwork”. Having established teams or engaging in teamwork without really defining the type does not automatically guarantee organizational success. Effective teamwork is the foundation of all successful management and a true and effective team is a living, constantly changing and dynamic force in which various people come together to work. Team members discuss their goals, evaluate ideas, make decisions, and work together to achieve their goals under strong and effective leadership.
Compliance with commercial objectives
In the words of Carole Sue Jones, a training and instructional design professional with a strong focus on management development, “Managers must be able to build effective teams and relationships to achieve business priorities and goals. They define success in terms of performance of the entire team and will allow people to be held accountable for the work they do. They need to balance that with the ability to provide the information their team members need to complete their tasks while helping them feel good about the work they do Reporting is a critical task in productivity and team building.”
Just concluded South Africa 2010
If you watched the (Super) Eagles games at the just-concluded World Cup in South Africa, you’ll know that having teams in place doesn’t automatically guarantee success if the teams aren’t effective and committed. We saw uncoordinated teamwork in action. Ineffective teams are not seen metaphorically as teams or literally seen as purposeless teams, just as a cowardly man may be metaphorically referred to as a woman or literally called a fearful man.
It’s no wonder Jim Clemmer, bestselling author of Pathways to Performance and The Leader’s Digest, says, “Despite all the great talk, matching t-shirts…calling a group of people a team doesn’t become one. These groups are Usually just a collection of people from the same department who meet regularly. Few of us have been lucky enough to participate in a strong, cohesive team. Giving everyone a t-shirt can produce warm and confusing in the short term, but it rarely leads to a powerful and cohesive team unless the root problems are addressed. An example of a root problem might be chronic animosity between the managers who work with the team.”
Setting ground rules and setting goals are just some of the guidelines that can help your teams achieve their goals, such as productivity improvement, process management, innovation, profitability, etc. According to Kevin Eikenberry, a leadership expert, “Everyone thinks teams are a good thing. Leaders like to build teams. People, for the most part, believe in the value and purpose of teams…”
There are two basic types of teams created in organizations. There are soccer/basketball teams; and athletic teams. The success of your organization depends on your choice between these two types and how effectively you are able to manage the correct choice which you have fortunately made.
These are teams that naturally require everyone to play as a unit. Such teams naturally force people to cooperate and remain engaged in organizations because it is not possible to be successful as individuals alone. I’m sure you know that we didn’t lift the FIFA U-17 World Cup that we organized last year because some players were selfish, trying to impress the football scouts. Ultimately, all the players lost the match together.
Athletic teams are the second type of teams in organizations. Organizations should avoid establishing these types of teams because people will focus on individual success rather than committing to effective teamwork. Athletic teams are unconsciously created in organizations when individual efforts are effectively rewarded rather than team efforts. Then the rivalry between the staff will start instead of a healthy competition between the different teams of an organization.
For example, we usually have Team Nigeria every time we go to the Olympics. The team is usually made up of sprinters, high jumpers, shot putters, long distance runners, soccer players, etc. Although the members or sub-teams are collectively known as Team Nigeria, they are not interdependent in their commitments when they get there, as they aim for individual or sub-team success. This is because shot putters can succeed without high jumpers, sprinters, or soccer players. In athletics events, except relay events, the athletes are not interdependent. Although the members of the soccer subteam need each other to succeed, the soccer subteam does not need other subteams to succeed because their set skills are different, although all the subteams are Team Nigeria.
Effective teamwork is critical to the success of any organization. Therefore, organizations must set priorities correctly and review them frequently; balance teams for strengths; give team members proper guidance regarding overall corporate goals, etc. Above all, rewarding individual performance should be discouraged while team excellence should be rewarded.