Teamwork in the Workplace: Myths and Facts

We all have our own sets of preconceived ideas about how teamwork in the workplace works, and you might be surprised to learn that a lot of those stereotypes about teamwork isn’t true at all.

How does teamwork among people within an organization work? Let us debunk the myths and be enlightened with the facts.

MYTH: Team work is a group skill. Individuals are not responsible for the quality of their team experience.

TRUTH: This is a popular belief among workers and is a cause of unimpressive excuses once the team fails to deliver. Remember that the smallest unit in a team is a single individual who should act on all of their personal abilities to affect the entire team’s performance.

MYTH: Managers and consultants are responsible for building teams.

TRUTH: A team is created through a series of specific communications or conversations that occur between people who share responsibility to achieve a certain goal. Team members can and must learn to have these conversations on their own, particularly since a manager or consultant isn’t always there.

MYTH: Team members’ skills are more important than their motivation.

TRUTH: When teamwork is important, skills should come after factors like drive, energy, interest, motivation, and enthusiasm because it’s shared desire—not talent—creates teamwork. It’s also true that low motivation is more infectious on teams than high motivation. And while skilled individuals act within their roles, committed team members improvise to get the job done.

MYTH: For a team to be really successful, its team members must like one another.

TRUTH: Teams that encourage affinity for a shared task—not for one another—create the strongest group cohesion. Instead of using exercises and techniques that promote friendships, work together to adopt a common focus so that team members see good reasons to work with one another.

MYTH: Team members must subordinate their self-interests for the good of the team.

TRUTH: Responsible team member retain their personal power. They would still find a way to align their self-interests with the team assignment, knowing that going along without passion or commitment can take the team to where no member wants to go.

MYTH: Team members must choose or compromise between getting the job done and treating one another humanely.

TRUTH: The best teams believe that the task can be done and that team members can have an extraordinary experience when it comes to inter-member relations.

MYTH: Teambuilding means taking time away from real work at offsite events.

TRUTH: True teambuilding happens in the course of work. Taking time away may develop friendships between members, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the work ethic would change dramatically.

MYTH: A team that starts on the right track stays on the right track.

TRUTH: No team is perfect. A number of events can occur during the life of a team to break that would break their healthy dynamics. To stay intact, members should be able to pinpoint problems as they arise and address them immediately.

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