What is teamwork? The dictionary defines it as: the combined action of a group of people, esp. when effective and efficient. If it’s not effective or efficient, it’s not a team.
There is a difference between a group and a team. A group is comprised of individuals who may or may not work together or help each other. A team, however, works together and “leaves no one behind.” They are for each other.
Many offices today house people who do not, or will not, work together as a team. If you have worked very long, you’ve heard management discuss teamwork. If you follow sports, after every final Super Bowl or World Series, there will be talk of teamwork and how it helped them win.
If teamwork is so important, why are so many offices and administrative personnel not actually working better by using teamwork?
Fear: I think many people may be intimidated by others who appear to be confident. The truth is that we are all gifted differently. I may be good at writing but you are great at delegation and networking. But instead of holding back and shrinking into a corner, why not leverage each other’s strengths without being intimidated? I also believe that some people “hold back” and are fearful in a different way: they believe that if they share their knowledge they will create competition. They protect what they know like Fort Knox gold. Loosen up – it’s time to share.
Change: Often people don’t want to engage in teamwork because they will hear other people’s ideas and methods and may need to incorporate them and change. The reality is that no one person has 20/20 vision on everything. No one is the font of all knowledge. But with the sum of our experiences, we can adapt and grow, assimilating the information we glean along the way. When was the last time you went out of your way to change something about how you work, how you present yourself, or how you behave? Make it a priority to engage another’s view or approach, and by so doing, you are engaging in teamwork.
Inflexibility: This could be called open-mindedness, too. We must be open to diversity and the idea that the best idea may come from someone other than ourselves. Behaviorist’s research suggests that we are on “auto-pilot’ over 40% of each day. We don’t think, we just do what we do by rote habit. That makes us inflexible to new ideas, new methods, new input and new things that could create a better team environment with efficient results. Think about it: what good is holding on when everything moves so fast? Yesterday’s payphone is today’s smartphone and tomorrow’s satellite phone.
As administrative assistants and executive assistants, we must team well within our organizations to experience true success. Today’s companies want people with the soft skills to move into teams and be able to create magic together. We must build, day to day, our teaming skills and our availability and commitment to teamwork.
So take a little quiz: is the teamwork in your office effective and efficient? If it’s not, it’s not teamwork but a group. Start today to build forward. Don’t wait for others to step up. You do it. Invite an idea, share a lunch invite or a magazine article, forward an appropriate e-mail on leadership and teamwork. Create a culture within your own circle of influence that invites teamwork.
Create the magic within your organization, department or work group that only comes with the culture of TEAMWORK.
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