In the past year, many Interstates employees have seen a presentation or participated in a book study on Extreme Ownership by Jacko Willink and Leif Babin. I am excited about the buzz that’s been created around many of the Leadership themes from this book, including teamwork. I challenge you to consider what good teamwork looks like and the different roles you play in the various team with which you work.
Teamwork is defined as “cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause.” The “acting together” portion of that phrase got me thinking. To act together we must understand our common purpose. The team vision and goals need to be clearly communicated to each person on the team. Each person knows “the why” behind what they are doing so that they better understand the project and this drives their part of the work to help the team reach the common goal.
In his book The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni talks about a team being an intentional decision. To be cohesive and effective as a team, you choose to work as a team. You see the big picture, not just your own point of view. You break down silos. You depend upon each other. An effective team can’t have people doing their own thing. An effective team sees the importance of everyone focused on the same goal. It’s like rowing a boat – we all need to be rowing in the same direction. Having just one person rowing in a different direction will throw off the rhythm of the boat. A strong team works together, trusts each other, and depends upon each other. The ultimate team goal is always top of mind.
As the leader of a team, there are times when you will need to be personally inefficient so that your team can be more efficient and effective. Adjusting your schedule to be available for team collaboration, alignment, and decision-making allows the project to move forward and people to grow. Sometimes short term pain for you, provides long-term gain for your team. That’s servant leadership.
As you strive for success with your team, keep in mind that success happens when we all work together, doing our parts, for the common good of the project. On any team, the sum is far greater than the parts. Success in never the result of one single member of the team. Success happens as a team.
So, what’s your role in any given team you are on? Supporting the common goal is always the priority. Be a servant leader. Be a good communicator. Help address problems that arise, cover for sick or absent team members, be an extreme owner and take initiative. Refocus the team when you get off course. If you keep the overall project goal in your mind and in front of your team, you will likely be on the right path for success as a team.
What other ways can you promote good teamwork?
Doug Post, Interstates Engineering President