Monday, August 27, 2012

Team commitment requires more than Kumbaya

Think of all the teams, formal and informal, you are on at work: project teams, client teams, strategic teams. You also are on teams at home as the leader of a family, or sibling, or son or daughter. You are on teams in your church, neighborhood, kids's school, nonprofits you support, and with friends. Some of you are on athletic teams--professional or not.

Sometimes you are a teammate and other times you are the team leader. Are you always a team player?

How committed are you to your teams and their goals? How committed are you to your teammates? Does your commitment waiver when the teams are winning v. losing? Or, does it waiver depending on how the teams are led? Or, is your commitment dependent upon commitment demonstrated by other teammates and leaders?

Our commitment to the teams we are on is not a one-time promise. It is impacted all the time and must be renewed frequently. Team leaders in any field who expect a version of Kumbaya at the start of a project or season will form and keep player commitment will cause their teams to lose.

Work teams lose when projects take too long or cost too much. They might get finished, but the lack of commitment is costly and lack of trust will impact future projects too. I was on a project for a nonprofit training event several years ago. The leadership of the team was so bad (wasteful of our time by lack of preparation), the team has never heard from him again. Another team I was on was run by a leader whose ego was bigger than everyone else, and the only things that were completed were what she micromanaged and instructed. She personally caused the finances and membership of the group to decrease, plus, she missed out on so many great ideas. You have been on similar teams, right?

As a team player, it is important to assess your commitment to your teams. When you are not All-In, assess your behavior and reasons. It is okay if the team changes its Mission for you to change your commitment; however, it is not acceptable to sabotage the team overtly or with poor performance.

Players often make self-centered decisions when they have not bought in to the culture, leadership, or goals. If you are a teammate over the age of twelve, it is unacceptable to behave in a selfish manner. You are taught by that age to put the team first.

When players put themselves first, they reflect their own character and how they feel about their teammates and leaders. Good leaders know team commitment can be fleeting and must be renewed frequently. Slogans like "There is no "I" in TEAM!" don't work when hollered once. There may be no "I" in team, but there is "ME". Experienced, talented leaders pay attention to player commitment and build it often, even when a player makes a mistake and puts himself first. It takes more than punishment or discipline to earn a player's commitment.

As a player and leader, pay attention to commitment all the time. Paying attention to it once is not going to lead to success in any field.

No comments:

Post a Comment