“What is your biggest asset?”, if we ask any team lead this question; their answer almost unanimously is “a strong team”. When we divulge bit deeper into the answer and try and understand what this strong team is all about, roughly it is defined as something like this. A team that has excellent, meticulous performers and achievers. People who can complete the toughest tasks with finesse. So as a team lead or mentor we always search for the stars or achievers. Those who can deliver meticulously.
However as like not all fingers in hand matches in size, every person in different. We grow up listening to the importance of being the best and staying on top. From childhood we are told to do our best; as such doing the best is the best thing for us. Nevertheless, when the target of doing best is to reach the virtual top spot, it kills the agenda. The organizations and societies always pitch us against each other. We are forced to see each other as competitors.
If you have ever led a team, you can always see that there can never be one single person who can accomplish the task by himself. Such a thought is against the scheme of teamwork. When you handle a team, you get variety. There is always someone who
• Knows everything but it is hardest to get them put their knowledge to job.
• Will struggle to find a way but you are confident he will surely find one with his zeal.
• Who can deliver great tasks but can never present and coordinate with others.
• Completes the task fast but lacks the finesse.
• Tests your patience with his detailing and particularizing of each task.
There is mix and match in every team. Usually as a lead the most natural thing we do is, pitch each team member against each other. We do it to spice up competition, feeling it will bring best from each of them. However, it leads to a divided unit and if there is no cohesion, things including the deliveries will fall apart.
In the TED Talk “Forget the pecking order at work” by MargeretHeffernan (link mentioned in references); she explains how allowing people to connect and share can give organizations better teams and versatile work groups.
As a lead we should bridge the gap among our team members and play each of them to their strengths. Individually we all lag something and not everyone can do or like to do everything. And this is where the groups/teams become significant. Teams bring variety on the plate and hence there is a colorful and diverse dynamics created.
Connection beyond the formal setup ups the empathy level of the individuals which helps more constructive setup, positive energy flow. It makes the workplace more humane. When people look at each other beyond the competitor image, they understand their responsibility in the team beyond only the assigned tasks or roles.
There will always be selective prizes and winner spots; however, these can be always made more diversified and inclusive. In the more connected units when people know each other beyond set boundaries, the competence and skillset of each one is clearer. And clear is always kind and good to have. So next time when you are looking for an assignee for new task, make the task more of a teamwork than an individual achievement. Great teams are formed with some nosy, some fun, some calm profiles; there is only need of making room for each other’s perspective and discuss things clearly and openly. There should be room for slow learning pace and aggressive work approach in the team.
Cultivate a culture where the people can celebrate the team’s success in same way as their own accomplishment. Be the bridge to make connections between your team members. Give them an advantage to know each other and learn from each other. Teams that evolve together always last longer.