Teamwork makes the dream work
Teamwork makes the dream work
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
– Helen Keller
Everyone is different. Everyone has different desires and goals, and different viewpoints on the world around them. It’s something I’ve spoken about elsewhere in this book, and often having those different viewpoints is something you can use to your advantage.
But to be able to grow, you also need to be able to move as one, with clear goals set in place that you come together as a team to work towards.
That’s what team mentality is all about – individuals working together to achieve a shared goal, each one bringing their unique talents and skills to reach those joint goals.
The team mentality you need will largely already be clear to you. You should define behaviours by the values you’ve set for your business and your overall business plans and goals.
So, what can you do to make sure your workplace has a team mentality? And what are the things you need to try and avoid?
Have you ever walked into a room where everyone is in a great mood and you can feel it? Maybe it’s even picked up your own mood. Or what about the opposite, when you’ve been having a great day and been dragged into a conversation that’s made you feel awful? It’s easy for negativity to take hold. It just takes one person and it can spread like a virus around the whole team.
There are ways to combat these viruses, and inoculate them before their able to spread, and luckily, they should be things you’re already doing, or thinking about putting in place.
Clear and open communication, allowing people to discuss issues and get to the bottom of things before they can fester can often cut off negativity before it begins. Clarity around tasks, who they’re assigned to and what the key actions are is equally as vital. If there’s room for confusion, someone is more than likely going to go in the wrong direction.
An easy way to get people thinking as a team would be idea sharing. Set up sessions for your team to discuss plans together, share their work and brainstorm ideas. Not only will this help you tap into knowledge you might not have, it’ll get people into the habit of working together.
The Bystander Effect
“I don’t have to do it, because somebody else will.”
The Bystander Effect is a psychological theory which we usually apply to those that need help. It states that people are less and less likely to offer help the more people that are present.
This is something that can happen just as often in the workplace. If there’s a task you need completing that anyone could do, is someone likely to volunteer to do it, or will they wait for someone else to pick up the mantle?
By shifting that mindset away from individual tasks, and working towards a team goal, you can give everyone a personal responsibility. This will consequently avoid people leaving that task for someone else to do.
As a rule, people favour harmony over conflict and dissent. But that desire for harmonious thinking can lead to people failing to speak up, or ignoring their true thoughts in favour of opting for a group decision. This phenomenon is known as groupthink.
The term was coined by psychologist Irving Janis, and focuses on decision-making
within a group. In trying to reach a consensus decision, people fail to critically evaluate different viewpoints, or even present them at all. Groupthink can lead to feelings of invulnerability, overconfidence and complacency from not fully examining any given situation.
To avoid groupthink, implement ideas in your discussions; actively encourage debate (and know the difference between debate and argument), make sure to examine data from all angles, not just the ones you seem to agree with, and look at how quickly you’re reaching conclusions. Getting there fast doesn’t mean it’s correct.
It’s no fun being left out of a party, is it? And similarly, it’s no fun being left out
in the workplace if a group of people are on a growth journey which you’re not
part of. By bringing your team together, including them in the plans for growth both for themselves and for the business, you’re promoting growth as a team, and in turn promoting a team mentality.
Chew on this:
Can you think of any real world scenarios that were caused by groupthink? Read more about the collapse of Airline SwissAir.