There's no 'I' in team... but there is a 'ME'!
Updated: Nov 25
Teamwork… the often quoted essential criteria in a job description or something we are always demanding to see from our young people to show their depth and breadth of skills and qualities. But what exactly is teamwork and how can we promote and develop it better to ensure it is something that happens naturally, is inclusive and fair and supports whatever roles we are undertaking?
Teamwork is a complex term and involves a number of even more complex qualities that make it up. This article lists no less than 12 characteristics of teamwork, including ones such as style diversity, external relations and civilised disagreement. It goes on to discuss teamwork elements such as collaborator, contributor, communicator and challenger. Clearly trying to ensure that all of these are always working well together between various type of people, with varying experience and varied opinions, with often wildly different agendas and objectives can often and inevitably lead to disagreements, poor functioning teams, and a lack of progress or achievement. On the flipside if a leader is able to bring together a team with various high functioning skills and complex parts and get the best from everyone then it could create an amazingly supportive highly productive, progressive and innovative group where nothing is too much trouble, tasks are completed and roles are clearly defined.
We often turn to the world of sport for examples of great teams and teamwork. The 2003 World Cup winning England Rugby Team, the England cricket team who won the Ashes in 2005, The New Zealand All Blacks, the England Netball Team who won Commonwealth Gold, Manchester United and their famous treble winning team or the victorious European Ryder Cup Golf Team at the miracle in Medinah.
Equally we can look to the military or the world of business for high performing teams. Teamwork in The Royal Marines demonstrates clear shared objectives and determination to achieve them together and The British Army is another example of shared teamwork values and a philosophy of working together to be the best. In business, famous ‘dragon’ Deborah Meedhan is quoted as referring to the importance of understanding each other and having strong communication as crucial for successful teamwork. There is a clear need for teamwork in the workplace and how leaders can create and foster a real sense of belonging and in turn a productive and successful business.
In all of these highly successful teams there is something that is common throughout; the need to understand individuals, their strengths, weaknesses, motivations and backgrounds, which all combine to influence teamwork. Whether you are talking about a group of multimillionaires about to sign a billion dollar deal in the penthouse of a Dubai hotel, or a group of soldiers hiking across a wet, windy and isolated mountain range to a rendezvous point, it is the essence of how individuals combine and respond to each other and how clearly they understand their objectives as to how successful the team environment will be.
Clearly there are many factors that may be at play which will influence that, and it is highly dependent on the group, the task, the environment or individual personality traits.
Bruce Tuckman is well know for his 5 stage teamwork model; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning, as shown in the graph below.
Accessed at lumenlearning.com
This shows clearly the process of teamwork and how it is not a straightforward process, but if you get it right, how effective it can be. If you consider the influence of the number of individuals in a group then you can see how essential it is to manage them well to ensure the group strengthens in every stage and is not at risk of fracturing or totally splitting apart.
Within education there are a number of teams that operate at various levels to ensure success. For teachers and senior leaders it becomes an essential part of everyday work to make sure these teams are working well together and achieving to the level required. Whether it be a teacher and their class, a whole year group, an after school club or a house team, or a staff teaching team, the senior leadership team or a staff committee, every single one of these require individuals to understand each other and work together. Whatever the situation is, encouragement, enjoyment and a clear purpose help to bring everyone together.
Here at globalbridge we understand the need to bring individuals together and to promote effective teamwork in every environment. Our philosophy is simple; level the playing field of opportunity for every individual so they can feel part of a team where everyone can enjoy celebrating their skills, talents and achievements as one. Remember, there’s no I in team, but there is a ME… so celebrate individuals and their talents and enjoy the positive effects it can have!
November is #globalteam month at globalbridge. Why not share your own teamwork stories with us via our social media pages and let us know what teamwork means to you?