Contrary to the title of this blog, there are probably a million ways to kill teamwork, but for the purposes of this blog and to save you reading a mammoth article, we are going to focus on, what I believe, to be the top three.
First of all, we need to make sure we really grasp the concept of teamwork before we figure out how it can be killed. Teamwork is a true collaboration of a group of people that share the same vision, passions, and goals. Now, this isn’t exactly an Oxford English Dictionary definition of what teamwork is, but I think it captures the true spirit of teamwork. It is much more than a group of people working on the same project or playing the same sport in the same jersey. With this basic understanding, we can identify 3 things that are a threat to teamwork.
Lack of Clarity Kills the Vision
We have all heard the phrase “singing off the same hymn sheet” before. This point goes much deeper than that. We may be able to get a basic understanding of the vision, but without clarity, can we really buy into it? If we don’t have a clear map and clear leadership, we find ourselves straying off the path. We must be clear and communicate the heart and vision of what we are doing if we expect people to buy into the vision and fulfil the mission. As a team, we can fall victim to discontent, lack of enthusiasm, all of which will either slow you down or ultimately kill the vision. Teams prosper when there is clarity around the vision.
Bad Attitudes Kill Passion
Working with a team member with a bad attitude is a massive teamwork killer. How can we collaborate when there is a cell within the team who wants to push away from the goals? The problem with bad attitudes is that they are contagious. We begin to look for the truth in the attitude. It’s in a lot of people’s nature to look for the good in the bad. Why are they feeling this way towards the project? Is there any truth in what they are saying? Maybe I should challenge the vision also? It’s a slippery slope, all because one person hasn’t had a cup of coffee in the morning. Granted, coffee isn’t the cause of team breakups. As a matter of fact, coffee has brought many teams together, but you get the idea. We need to be mindful of bad attitudes and stay focused on the vision or risk corruption, discontent and disconnect.
Discouragement Kills Goals
Deadlines can be missed, goals can be missed, and we may fall short from time to time on the projects we partake in. This is the harsh reality we need to keep in mind even before we begin the planning stage. Now, I’m not saying we plan to fail, but what I am saying is that we cannot let the fear of failure prevent us from a collaboration that could exceed our goals and expectations. When we miss those goals or deadlines, we do not want to let discouragement set in if it does, there is a possibility for the vision to be attacked. It some cases, it is good to readdress the vision if you are constantly missing goals, but we can’t fall at the first hurdle either. We must keep our passion, our vision and our goals in check or we run the risk of discouragement dictating our outcomes.
So, LACK OF CLARITY, BAD ATTITUDE, and DISCOURAGEMENT are my 3 main suspects for killing teamwork. Put them on trial, address the issues, and watch your team grow together as they are faced with these challenges and many more.