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Teamwork skills: 4 myths about teamwork

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teamwork skills

Building and leading a successful team is akin to taking a journey. Members of the team should experience it together but the teamwork journey is tricky for leaders to map. In fact, there is, for some managers, significant unlearning of the habits and processes they use in their everyday leadership. Especially as there is a lot of misinformation surrounding what team management looks like (Take “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM for example). Let’s look at four common teamwork myths and try to debunk them.

Teamwork Myth 1 – Teams are made of harmonious people

Good teams are made of diverse people with specific needs to be met within the team. Not a group of harmonious people who compromise their own opinions and needs for the sake of the team. When the diversity is recognised and utilised appropriately the team’s diversity can become a team strength. Diversity encourages communication, collaboration and building on ideas. Check out our article on Why teamwork is a better way to work on Bookboon blog for more on creating a team that works.

Teamwork Myth 2 – Team conflict is unhealthy

teamwork skills

When working with a team of diverse people, conflict is inevitable but also necessary. Conflict is so often seen as a negative barrier when it comes to teamwork, while in fact, it should be recognised and harnessed as a positive energy source. Conflict comes from passion and if a team can embrace the team’s primary goal or mission rather than individual goals, conflict can help a team grow and achieve the common goal.
Passion is the ‘glue’ that can keep a team together. The passion for a common goal allows conflict to be seen in a positive light, as the ‘fight’ is about achieving the objective and not with each other.

Teamwork Myth 3 – Most people like teamwork

Teamwork in some form is often necessary in a workplace but everyone works differently. It is important that managers recognise the types of employees who make up their team. Approximately one-third of the working population actually enjoys teamwork, one third is neutral and one third prefers to work solo. For the success of the team, leaders and team members must accommodate for those team members who fall into the ‘working solo’ category without compromising the team objectives or values. With good communication within a team and delegation from leaders, it is possible to create a team environment that caters for the work preferences of each individual.

Teamwork Myth 4 – Teams are easy to influence and manage

teamwork skillsLeading teams requires a different skill set to that required for normal day-to-day management.  It takes a lot of organisation, communication, time-management, and people-management to lead a successful team. Check out Managing Team Members for more on this.

 Team leaders must first lead by example and then get to know their team members’ strengths, weaknesses, manage their desires and working-style and delegate accordingly. They must also be patient and handle and manage delay while also encouraging and maintaining deadlines.

The Myths and Realities of Teamwork

To find out more about teamwork, read our eBook "The Myths and Realities of Teamwork".

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