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Can teamwork be developed?
The question was answered by Katzenback in a memorable way in his book “the Wisdom of Teams”:
Remembering Katzenback wise words, and adding to these challenges, many teambuilding efforts are simply misguided or emphasize the wrong elements. Teamwork is not just a mix of people skills and personal convictions. Here are the four most damaging misconceptions that get in the way of developing teamwork I have experienced in a variety of settings:
- “Teamwork is A GROUP SKILL”. To the contrary, it is an individual skill/stance.People work on their teamwork skills by themselves while working with others. As such the responsibility of developing teamwork is squarely on each individual team member.
- “Teamwork HAPPENS NATURALLY among people who get along.” No, it is hard work unless each team member is willing to seeing himself/herself as part of something bigger, recognize shared responsibility, be commitment to get the work done.
- “Team members SHOULD LIKE EACH OTHER.” This is unrealistic and unnecessary. But team members do need to master personal communication, negotiation and conflict skills to make their teams high-performing.
- “Teamwork IS AN ACHIEVEMENT.” This is not exactly the point as it is descriptive and leaves us without a way to get there. Teamwork is a series of specific conversations that occur among people while getting something done. This means that the ability and willingness to share and be in community is a critical stance that can develop the teamwork abilities of teams.
What could be the impact of these ideas on your bottom line? We feel it might be significant.
Adriano understands how to increase your returns on leadership. He works with professionals in world-class organizations that include Philip Morris, Microsoft, the World Bank, Johns Hopkins University, the US Marine Corps, the State Department and NASA. A skilled experiential educator with corporate leadership experience, he is the Founder & Principal Consultant of ParticipAction Consulting, Inc., a firm committed to help clients redefine change, collaboration and power in their organizations. He co-authored "Teachable Moments of Leadership" with Jill Hufnagel in 2016, on a learning methodology that gets results by going from PowerPoint to …powerful!