"Work hard to get the best out of your team. Make sure your team works together. Ensure everyone acts like a team player"
If you are a professional and working in a managerial or leadership position, you must have heard this refrain from your boss, especially if your team has not done well. If you are watching the Cricket World Cup on TV, you will hear similar phrases tossed out by the commentators before every game.
What is it about working with others? How does helping others get better help you? What is its relevance in a dog-eat-dog world? These are some of the questions that I have been pondering over.
Living in an interdependent world, we need others not just because we are social animals by nature, but also because we rarely can do everything that needs to be done alone. I sincerely believe that we need others to help us make things happen, we need others to work with us and for us. We need others to help execute our ideas, to encourage our projects, to support our endeavours and to do the tasks we need them to do.
"[K]nowing how to help move others along, knowing how to fan that motivational flame in them, knowing how to get them to execute what you want done, is a vital part of the success story you script."
Therefore, in the work arena or on the home front, knowing how to help move others along, knowing how to fan that motivational flame in them, knowing how to get them to execute what you want done, is a vital part of the success story you script.
There are many ways in which individuals are motivated. Some say that instil fear and you will see results immediately. I believe that fear as a motivational tool is not entirely worthless. In fact, it may indeed work initially. However, it has shown to work only for a short time or until the individual reasons out that being afraid does not add any value to them and is not inspirational.
Fear, used to incite better performance, has four downfalls. First, fear is external while true motivation must come from within; Second, fear is negative; third, those working under its threat soon become numb to it, rendering it ineffective; and finally, criticism and punishment may work to eliminate specific unwanted behaviour but sometimes employees' reactions to it can be erratic and unpredictable. In other words, though fear may prevent unacceptable behaviours in one area, it usually encourages and justifies an equally unacceptable, or even worse, behaviour in another area.
"[T]hough fear may prevent unacceptable behaviours in one area, it usually encourages and justifies an equally unacceptable, or even worse, behaviour in another area."
Typically, good managers do not fool themselves into thinking that fear or rewards will ensure or inspire peak performance. Sure, those extras will most likely enhance a company's recruitment efforts, and that benefit cannot be dismissed. However, successful people know that those prizes will not guarantee that team members or employees will work with conscientiousness, self-discipline, initiative, loyalty, dependability, energy and enthusiasm.
So, how does one go about teaming for success?
Praise in public: Managers who understand the dynamics of collaboration and teamwork will praise team members frequently. Their reprimands tend to be specific and in private while the praise tends to be general and in public.
Measure your success by the success of others: Make sure others are taken care of and consider yourself successful when others are. Celebrate a team member's success.
Embrace Openness: Being open and forthright when communicating is a key skill.
Be intrinsically fair: Being fair is the ability to perceive if things are equitable and ensuring that justice prevails. Constantly keep a watch on your fairness quotient.
Provide learning opportunities: An excellent way to demonstrate support is to give team members opportunities for training or learning new skills.
Walk the talk : High integrity is a key trait to ensure team success as when you walk the talk, others tend to follow.