The importance of Teamwork in Achieving Success
Kochi: A star-studded team is the dream of team owners and spectators alike. Much like a team of avengers – each member having a different super power and strength to complement each other - they will help fill the minds of spectators with throbbing energy. But having so many stars also poses the challenge of having to find ‘space’ for all of them. Stars also come with their own exalted statures and often these ‘pedestals’ obstruct the efficient functioning of the team and its growth as a collective entity with shared team spirit. We get to see the same issues in companies as well. Rainmakers come in and make big impact in their respective zones but the bonding and blending of these individuals with the rest of the team members should take precedence over letting them achieve success alone.
A well-coordinated team will have members leveraging their peculiarities, drawing from their strengths, and moving forward in unison, says Rajesh Nair
The Humility Principle
The term ‘humility’ has its roots in the Latin word meaning ‘near earth’. Much has been said about ‘killer instincts’ etc., but often this has also been mistakenly linked to arrogance and even heckling of opponents. But humility means, in this context, to keep one’s eyes open for criticism and the ability to have an open mindset to learn from whatever is happening around oneself. It is not about smiling or being extra polite. It is about looking inwards more than outwards for answers.
Every member counts
Teams also need supporting players. Whether it is a champion basketball shooter or an aggressive cricket batsman, the position needs the support of other players. Hence, we also get to see the importance of stars who are not celebrities. They are the players who boost the team’s performance with just their presence and energy. They need not be the most talented players themselves. Jonty Rhodes was a great South African cricketer of the yesteryears. He was not known for the runs he amassed as a batsman but for the slew of runs he saved on the field. His superhuman efforts on the field helped make the Proteas one of the finest cricketing sides in the world.
Not the Solar System
It is not like a sun with multiple planets orbiting it. It has to be like a constellation of stars. Each of them shines differently on different nights and some shine more than the others at different times of a year. Every situation needs leadership requiring different skill sets and orientation. A well-coordinated team will have members leveraging their peculiarities and drawing from their strengths, and moving forward in unison in the common direction. Like champion teams, just when you have the defence of the opposing team marking a ‘star’ another ‘star’ ‘shines’, taking a different path to the goal.
The cornerstone of a collective leadership is the shared sense of victory and ability to celebrate each other’s success. One of the virtues our schooling system needs to instil in children is this value of appreciating another’s success and also a team’s victory. It is not generosity and altruism that should prod us into complimenting a team member, but the genuine interest in his/her accomplishment and how that made a larger difference to the team endeavour to attain the goal.
Era of Multi-skilling
Today the brightest engineers are not working in the engineering field, science graduates are modelling the vicissitudes of stocks and bonds, and literature graduates are working at bank branches. The youth of today are not afraid of choosing professions which really interest them but have nothing to do with their basic qualifications. They include running eateries, monetising their arts interests or simply travelling. As they progress in their careers, they will acquire the ability to unlearn and learn new things.
Ability to build great teams is one of the key differentiators when we analyse people who were successful and those who have squandered great opportunities. It always pays to remember that you are only as good as the team you are part of!
(The author is Partner, Emerge Ventures Pte, Singapore)