Building a cohesive team

Times Ascent | 14 February 2011 | Purnima

Purnima

Faculty

A team is a not a collection of individuals. It is a body of people who work in conjunction with each other, who share a common platform of work and goal, of thought and methods. Corporate world runs on change. Change is driven by competition. Whenever the rat race of competition poses a threat to your confidence and performance, the support and camaraderie of your team members act as firewall protecting you from damage. It helps you build a great future for yourself on a safe foundation.

While your team firewalls you against competition from outside it should also guard itself from the same virus. One of the most deadly viruses that could attack and destroy a team is internal competition. What is competition? Rather one should ask why competition? Competition arises from a need to win always. Just as people get addicted to the pleasure derived from a drug, or alcohol, being addicted to power, position and praises one gets through winning, makes competitiveness an addiction. When pleasure becomes your driving force, you lose sight of your responsibility to a larger cause, the growth of your organisation.

Competitiveness could also express itself as the need to be right all the time; especially when you believe that being “right” all the time makes you significant within the group, draws everybody’s attention and creates a unique identity for yourself. That is when you become positional in your conversations during meetings and discussions. The focus is no more about what is right for the situation, what would do a greater good, what would bring about growth and take you closer to your destination; but it is about winning, proving your view to be right and proving yourself superior to others. This attitude paves way for the destruction of the team. Even if one team member indulges in this, the team becomes incapacitated, just as a car however efficient cannot function if one of its wheels were absent. Thereafter, conversations turn into arguments. It becomes a psychological war field, each arrayed against the other with their individualistic views and opinions.

A cohesive team comes into being with better people and not with better policies. The leader of a team should ensure that all the team members have sufficient understanding about the other; an understanding that is not induced through information about the other but that is born of genuine friendship. Is it not important that we invest our energies into building friendships with people with whom we work for eight hours a day, spend 20-25 days a month, with whom we share the joys and woes of work life and with whom we share a common destiny? So the question is how good are your team relationships? How happy are you with them? How much do you enjoy working with them? Your journey begins with this enquiry. A leader could help the team members become aware of what personality in them creates conflict for them and a friction within the team. However, the motive is very important. This should not be done to point fingers at the other or label the other. The motive is to know oneself. A major challenge one could face in knowing oneself is to break one’s own resistance and quell the defenses. It is very natural for us to come up with explanations and justifications to stand up for ourselves. Do we focus our energies on that? Or do we see what would really make us happier and take a step in that direction.

Let us get down to working on ourselves to build “happy team-ships.”

Author :
Purnima
Faculty, One World Academy

 

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