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Team Building is the Unseen Part of Better Teamwork
Every office manager, athletic coach or school principal wants a workplace with better teamwork, but without team building the behaviors that you define as evidence of teamwork will likely go unseen.
While it is common for some to underestimate the behaviors that are often defined as evidence of teamwork – collaboration, politeness, rapport, and efficiency in accomplishing a common goal - teamwork is actually a great deal more important than you might think. It is only the tip of the iceberg that is your organizational culture.
When I was still in college, I found myself on the side of I-75 north, about an hour outside of my home in Atlanta. The engine of my 1988 Mitsubishi Starion, which had been leaking oil for the last few weeks, had locked up and left me stranded on the side of the road.
I had hoped to make it home that night and have the engine looked at over break, but I ended up instead waiting for my father to come pick me up and we dragged the car and my ruined engine behind us on a trailer.
Your people likely go about their day completing their responsibilities and conducting their business without taking much notice of the many interactions they have with coworkers. It is these daily opportunities to build relationships that, when people are aware and looking for them, can be the oil that promotes a far more positive and supportive and energetic workplace.
Without enough oil to lubricate and help the metal engine parts work together more smoothly, my car engine got overheated and kept me from reaching my destination.
Isn’t that the same thing that sometimes happens with your people?
In order to keep things from getting overheated and “locking up” your organizations productivity, it would be wise to consider adding a bit of oil.
All I wanted was a car that ran well – but I neglected to add oil and the engine became a casualty of my careless inattention. Similarly, as a leader you want to ensure that your organization runs smoothly. You want to see the behaviors that emulate the same teamwork that all successful companies, schools, or athletic programs have enjoyed.
But while teamwork and those accompanying behaviors are what you SEE, you should also recognize that teambuilding is the unseen part of your organizational culture that inspires those desired behaviors.
Everyone is aware that the part of the iceberg you see above water is dwarfed by the size of the iceberg that exists beneath the surface. That is most certainly an accurate analogy for the relationship between teamwork and teambuilding.
You hear the engine of your organization running, but it is the unseen presence of oil that enables that engine to keep humming along efficiently.
Likewise, successful organizations create a culture of teamwork by providing their people with teambuilding activities. These may be a formal day of challenges to build leadership and communication skills, or may be informal weekly get-togethers that allow their people to build relationships and trust amongst themselves.
However the oil gets added, it remains a vital part of your team’s performance – for without it you are sure to see signs of diminished teamwork gradually appear. Before too long, you may find yourself stranded far from your destination with a team that is locked up in conflict or unable to successfully navigate communication issues or some other adversity.
But the truth is that you can’t create better teamwork by demanding it.
If you want to see more supportive interactions and collaboration, more acceptance of accountability, and more listening or leadership skills from your people, you need to recognize that the teamwork you see is merely the visible result of unseen teambuilding efforts that serve as the foundation for your organizational success.
And if you don’t yet see the positive, encouraging, or cohesive interactions you want your people to enjoy, perhaps it is time to add more oil to your engine and schedule a full or half-day Atlanta teambuilding event - or consider using a teamwork speaker to engage them with a fun and impactful activities at your next team meeting or conference.
Whatever your situation – when things get heated, you want your people and their relationships to remain healthy, focused, and productive. Choose to focus and invest a bit more on the unseen part of that teamwork iceberg, and you may be surprised at the great results your team will enjoy!