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Teamwork In The Workplace ...
Begins With The Individual

This page serves two purposes.

The first is to make sure that you understand what every high performance leader knows .... that teamwork begins with the individual.

The second is to provide you with a series of articles that will help drive high performance teamwork in the workplace.

If you have already visited this page and want to skip straight to the list of articles, use this link.

If you haven't visited before, then I highly recommend you read the article first before going deeper with the articles listed at the bottom of the page.

Have you ever heard that dopey saying there is no "I" in team! What a load of nonsense! Teamwork in the workplace is highly reliant on individuals ... individuals performing to their best and, sometimes, that performance will be for their own self interest!

We all go to work to have some of our personal needs met and the workplace that tries to ignore or negate the individual's needs is setting itself up for a fools ride. The leader's role is to help each individual align his or her own needs and interests, with the goals and pursuits of the team.

A team that is filled with individuals who are committed to and passionate about the team's goals, because they coincide with their own needs, is far more powerful, than a team filled with individuals who have over-ridden their own needs, for the good of the team, and are co-operating in a lackluster manner.

individuals make the team work

High Performance Teams Place High Value on Attitude

Mindset, attitude, and motivation you can't really train into someone. Certainly, you can create the environment that inspires people to want to be at (and give of) their best, but there are some individuals who really aren't right for your workplace, and they can quickly destroy the morale of the team.

Make no mistake the most powerful team member ... who will quickly undermine teamwork in the workplace .. is that individual who under-performs and cares little about the success of the team. High performance teams know this, and make sure that these team members (who just aren't a right fit for the environment, and the work on offer) are quickly moved out of the team.

If you want more tips on how to create the right environment to inspire people to be at their best, download the ebook "How To Motivate Employees".

High Performance Teams Place High Value on Individuals Using Their Strengths

Understanding an individual's strengths means that you can place them in roles that will enable them to use their strengths on a regular basis. When people are able to do this they shine, and are far more productive. Read more about strengths and individual and team success.

Jobs and task assignment should be crafted around each individual's strengths rather than Job Descriptions. Make a list of all the tasks that need to happen for the team to succeed, then make sure that the individual, whose strengths coincide with the task, is assigned to that task.

High Performance Teams Don't Waste Time Trying to Fix an Individual's Weaknesses

It is outmoded to think that an individual should focus on being good at everything. Identify the individual's weaknesses. But, do focus the majority of attention on the individual's strengths and improving their capability in their strength area - not on 'fixing' their weaknesses ... that is a waste of organizational time and resources and has the individual focusing his or her effort in the wrong place.

For those parts of their job that they are weak at, use others in the team, whose strengths are the individual's weaknesses, to support them.

High Performance Teams Keep Score

You can anticipate high levels of teamwork in the workplace, when goals are clearly defined and performance is recorded and shared on a regular basis. Any individual team member, should be able to tell a visitor to their facility, the top 5 goals for the team and be able to quote in a measurable manner (e.g. 'x'%) how their team is tracking toward that goal, for that particular hour/day/week/month (whichever is the appropriate measure) AND ...

The individual should be able to tell the visitor what their individual 5 goals are (which support the team in achieving its goals) and how they as an individual are tracking toward that goal.

Teamwork In the Workplace Happens at a Higher Level when Each Team Member Is Trained to Provide Feedback

Differing personalities, tension for resources, conflict are all part and parcel of organizational life. If you want a high performance team it is imperative, that you provide each and every person in the team, with the skills to hold challenging and difficult conversations, to negotiate differences, to provide performance improvement feedback.

Don't do this, and the chances of you having a team, that performs to its optimum, is severely diminished.

When people don't have the skills to handle high stakes conversations, tactfully and successfully, you can guarantee that the raising of issues/problems/poor performance is avoided ... but you will see the consequence of it ... back-stabbing and gossiping running rampant, high turnover, stressed leaders and overall poor team performance.

Teach team members skills such as those available in the ebook "Influence Your Way To Success"

Improving Teamwork In The Workplace Checklist

  • Conflict is going to happen - in fact healthy conflict is needed - so train each team member in how to hold high stakes conversations.

  • Make sure every team member knows the goals, knows how the team is tracking against the goal, how their individual performance impacts on the team goals

  • Create the systems that enable each individual to work to his or her strengths regularly -- and have systems/support to minimize the impact of his or her weaknesses. In other words, don't put team members in roles where they can't perform to their best

  • Entrench in the culture that poor performance is not tolerated and is addressed rapidly

  • Provide the systems and support, so that team members can hold each other accountable for individual performance (and provide disciplinary action when needed)

  • Ensure that the team members are part of the hiring team and selection process

  • Attitude and mindset are more important than skill-set ... so hire accordingly

  • As teams grow and develop, enable them more control over decision-making, and how the work gets done.

  • Have a strong training and development program that goes beyond technical skills. It is imperative that team members learn 'soft-skills' e.g. providing performance feedback, problem solving, holding effective meetings and learn business skills - so they think like an owner.

Go To The Topic Area You Are Interested In

Within the categories listed below, there are resources, filled with tips, ideas and tools to help you grow your capability as an individual and as a leader.

Improving Team Performance

Improving Individual Performance

Improving Team Performance

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Improving Individual Team Member Performance

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