The Myths and Realities of Teamwork

( 16 )
137 pages
The book focuses on the key milestones that mark a team’s journey to high performance, without being naïve to the challenges and the pitfalls; hence the title The Myths and Realities of Teamwork.
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About the author

David Wright was born in Ireland at the mid-point of the last century and educated at Trinity College Dublin.

His career began with manual work including the laying of white and yellow lines on roads, a surprising activity for the product of a privileged education. Eventually David was encour...


In this book, the author, David Wright, sets out to share 30 years of his team building experience in organisations both large and small. The book focuses on the key milestones that mark a team’s journey to high performance, without being naïve to the challenges and the pitfalls; hence the title The Myths and Realities of Teamwork. The most common myth is that there is no ‘I’ in team; however, there is a ‘me’. The reality is that the reader can never ignore an individual’s needs, even within a strong team environment.

The myths and realities of teamwork will be told through a series of milestones (chapters) on a journey to high performance using 32 case studies, 37 illustrations and one joke, but it is a good one.

The milestones highlighted within each chapter, will aid the reader to check the team’s progress. The initial part of the team journey will focus on basic steps in building the team and this may feel mechanistic; however, as the book unfolds, you will experience more challenging skills and processes that will enable you and your team to achieve high performance.

The myths and realities are visited throughout the book to assist the reader to be realistic in approach.

The book also aims to help mature teams recapture that early enthusiasm and respect you may have witnessed when the team was new. Building a really effective team is akin to taking a journey and members of the team must experience the journey together. I will refer to the team journey a lot throughout this book. In order for the team to have a fruitful journey, the following milestones must be reached:

  • Burying the myths and raising the realities
  • Understanding organisation culture and the team’s potential starting point
  • Establishing team goals and vision
  • Establishing ground rules for effectiveness
  • Meeting skills and positive contributions
  • Recognising the team processes including the journey from ‘Ritual Sniff’ to ‘Maturity’
  • Developing team skills that will aid success
  • Defining the team roles beyond pure functional roles and predicting future success or failure
  • Understanding empowerment and its place, especially in self-directed work teams
  • Having the level of openness and trust to share feelings and take responsibility for change
  • Embracing high performance, celebration and fun
  • Understanding the practice of leadership for all

I dedicate this book to my family, to Daphne, my coach, and daughters Diane and Catherine who encourage me not to act my age.

I also thank John Donnelly, Donnelly Mirrors, who provided the initial interest in teams, Ken Wright, my twin brother, who encouraged me to work with teams and take the necessary business risks and Sexton Cahill of Aughinish Alumina who suggested using the outdoors as a team building and learning environment for self-directed work teams.

I thank the many companies and organisations I am fortunate to work with who trust my ability to deliver fun and high performance teams.

Gratitude to Helen Colleton and Eilish Rafferty for sound advice on the book’s content.

Finally to Bookboon who asked me to fulfil my ambition to write about my experiences of teams, thank you. I have enjoyed writing the book. My hope is that you will enjoy the read and take the learning to your teams.

About the book

Author’s profile



  1. Myths and Realities of Teamwork
  2. Myth 1 – Teams are harmonious people

    Myth 2 – Team conflict is unhealthy

    Myth 3 – Most people like teamwork

    Myth 4 – Teamwork is essential to business success

    Myth 5 – Teams are easy to influence and manage

    Myth 6 – Senior Managers encourage teamwork

  3. Signposting a Team Journey
    1. The milestones
    2. Starting Point – Management Grid
    3. Bruce Tuckman’s team journey
    4. Summary of Chapter 2
  4. The Basics, Including Meeting Processes
    1. Team goal
    2. Team ground rules
    3. Team meetings processes
    4. Summary Chapter 3
    5. Myths and realities of Chapter 3
  5. Team Skills
    1. Team synergy; adding value consistently
    2. Six team skills
    3. Summary Chapter 4
    4. Myths and Realities of Chapter 4
  6. Team Profile, Balance and Roles
    1. Potential team profiling instruments
    2. A team’s profile using Belbin’s nine Team Roles
    3. Predicting the team’s performance when undertaking specific tasks
    4. Encouraging team members to take on additional roles that will assist in the team’s success
    5. Summary Chapter 5
    6. Myths and realities of Chapter 5
  7. Empowerment, Feelings and Fun
    1. Empowerment
    2. Self-Directed Work Teams (SDWT)
    3. Feelings, the highest form of team communication
    4. Fun
    5. Summary of Chapter 6
    6. Myths and realities of Chapter 6
  8. Leadership for All
    1. Team leadership
    2. Solo leadership versus team leadership
    3. Intervention levels
    4. Leadership for all
    5. High performance
    6. The team journey
    7. Summary of Chapter 7
    8. The final myth


One of the best I have ever read about teamwork!!
March 7, 2019
Very practical guide to recognising and improving on team dynamics. This looks at team myths and realities using several different lenses. Great read.
August 2, 2015
The Myths and Realities of Teamwork is a welcome addition to shared understanding of the importance of teamwork to any organisation or company. The acknowledgement of the individual "me" to the team is significant as it recognises the concept of teams as a unit but fully acknowledges the component parts that make the team. David Wrights wealth of experience as demonstrated in the way he presents the discussion and information make this book an important tool for everyone.
May 19, 2015
Timeless principles of teamwork. This is a great book for easy reference on the essentials of leading and managing effective teams. It serves as a useful and readable reminder of the pices of the jigsaw
May 18, 2015
There must be hundreds of books about Teamwork. It is a constant on management courses and the fact that there are so many books available, indicates to me, that there is a low level of satisfaction about Teamwork in general. So what makes this book “Myths and Realities of Teamwork” different and why is it worthwhile reading. The title of the book immediately caught my attention. Wright has highlighted the myths around teamwork that have become embedded in management discourse. These myths promise a lot but deliver very little. They also mask the realities that confront a project manager. What is very useful here is how Wright contrasts the myths against the realities of project management, realities borne of the characteristics of individual humans, after all humans make up the teams. Experienced project managers could still learn a lot from this book.
April 14, 2015
Excellent. This book clearly sets out how to get past some of the basic problems managers face with teams and how to move them to a level of high performance.
March 13, 2014
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