Unfortunately, in many organizations, it is individual effort that is rewarded. The individual is singled out for special recognition at monthly, quarterly or annual gatherings. Equally unfortunate is the affect that this has on the climate within an organization. Many of us talk about building a partnership between management and staff but few succeed. The prime reason for failure is that individuals are not rewarded for being a team player.
How many companies have you visited lately that have the nicely framed pictures of individuals working together with a large caption "TEAMWORK"? Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having these motivational items on display. There is also nothing wrong with promoting teamwork within your organization. My personal belief is that more can be accomplished by a team working together in harmony than can be accomplished through several sterling individual efforts.
One prime example of this concept has been seen recently in the efforts of our Canadian hockey teams playing in Europe. On each team there are a number of "star players". However, the difference between winning the game and losing the game often has come down to teamwork, cooperation and sharing.
As we enter a new year, perhaps now is a good time to sit back and reflect on how well the players cooperate in our company:
1. Do you talk about teamwork and then reward on individual performance?
2. Does every member of your team know how the other members of the team contribute to their overall success?
3. Can you or members of the leadership team quote specific behaviours or actions that reflect the fact that employees are working as a team?
The answer to these questions may appear to be quite basic. In this case it is not a matter of being able to say YES or NO to all questions to determine if you are on the right path. Rather it is a question of answering with a YES or NO then saying "Am I satisfied with that answer?"
If the answer to this last question is NO, then ask yourself one more question: "What am I going to do about changing the answer to this question? "Remember every team needs a leader, a motivator as well as solid steady workers. Given the right development opportunities each and every member of your team should be able to assume the role of leader as the situation requires.
Before the year gets much older, will you be the leader that starts making development of the team members a priority? If so, then 2008 will truly be a year of coordination of effort and success for you.