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Teamwork

Leaders need teams and teams need leaders.

Great teams are made up of individuals and the sum of the capabilities of the individuals alone are far less than the individuals working together.  Teams work together because of leadership.  On rare occasions it appears that a high performance team may not have a leader.  In fact digging a little deeper you will likely find the team does have their own internal leaders.

In my personal experience one of the great teams I have been associated with was the group of people at the paint company that managed to put a company back in business only a week after being under 13 feet of water.  (See essay Leadership - The Catalyst That Transforms)  This was an effort that could not have been commanded.  It came from the heart of a group of people that implicitly understood teamwork.  Most would have thought that they were down by a point with only 2 seconds left in the championship basketball game.  How could they possibly come back from such an obstacle?  The building had been under water.  Every circuit breaker, motor, and paint can label was ruined.  There was a coating of mud on everything.  The strange thing was, it never occurred to this group of employees that they might not be able to get the company back in business.  It was simply understood that we would win.

Great teams have 5 fundamental qualities (Mike Krzyzewski - Leading from the Heart).  Communications, Trust, Collective Responsibility, Caring, and Pride.  Separate, each is important and contributes to the success of the team but together they are an unbeatable combination.  It is simple to understand these fundamental principles but tough to achieve in practice.  To achieve this the team must learn to think as one.  The paint company employees had every one of these elements of a great team.  At the time I did not understand why all of this worked but I felt it in the things we were able to accomplish.

Mark Strickland

 

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Material Copyright 2003 by Mark L. Strickland