The continuous challenge of cultivating teamwork

Everybody talks about the importance of teamwork, though only a few know how it really works.

It is usual to find demotivated teams in which some people, particularly those who have been in it for a long time, have lost their interest in evolving. Most probably they were eager at the beginning, giving their best, but over time they find out that, no matter what they do, all of them are treated in the same way, usually with indifference, if not reproach.

Because if teamwork is not well cultivated, as any garden, it goes to waste.

Communication is drowned out by the noise of the most harsh and aggressive, though not necessarily most efficient members.

As a consequence, customers get lost in communication lapses. For example, a breakdown that could have been repaired that same day is left for the next day, because the call arrived just before someone was relieved of its shift by someone else.

Creating good teams is certainly a very complex task and it is the result of many little decisions and actions.

One of them is the Manager’s role: whether it is a managing director or a team supervisor, he/she must assume that the most important task is to stimulate everyone and to guarantee that the team remains a team.

It must at least be ensured that mutual respect prevails among teammates, so that emotions don’t collide. Emotions can be a great lever and they can also set the biggest traps. Channelling the emotions of a team is a hard task, but there are tools that can help us manage them realistically.

As an example of a tool, Javier Fernández Aguado has studied this topic and proposes the “Feelings Management” model. Though I think this methodology is designed for companies of a certain dimension, we can draw some interesting principles, such as managers shouldn’t interfere with the emotions of members of the team individually, but with the emotions of the team as a whole.

This way, we avoid getting into a slippery slope, taking the emotional state of the team to a higher level that transcends individualities and can even change each one’s particular situation for the better.

Therefore, a Manager must make an effort to ensure that his/her team works convinced that goals are reached thanks to the training, the competencies and the willingness to collaborate of all its members. By “cultivating” not just the work team, but also teamwork, the Manager will achieve employees with a perfect team attitude.

(Artículo en español)