Traits of a Leader

Team Spirit

Prof.M.S.Rao asked:



Andrew Carnegie said, “Team work is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results”.

Formation of homogeneous group out of heterogeneous for achieving organizational goals and objectives can be defined as team work. Working in teams is a fun and frolic. Team work touches upon our hidden talents. It is here people communicate more freely and work together in a team resulting in more efficient and effective results. It is nothing but synergy of strengths of diversified people. Every individual is blessed with unique qualities, abilities, talents and skills and when they work in teams with passion, we can expect unique results. Although numerically one plus one is two, but in team work it gives rise to more than two. It is here where people of diversified backgrounds and faculties come together to do their best forgetting their egos, differences of opinions, views and ideas so as to keep the objectives of the team paramount. Effective team work develops team spirit, flexibility, openness, adjustability and adaptability.

Characteristics of an Effective Team:

Basically a team must possess four elements such as purpose, duration, structure and membership. The leader or the manager must be very clear in his or her goals and objectives to avoid ambiguity. He or she must be a risk taker for conducting such an exercise. Creation of conducive and relaxed climate is an imperative to get desired results. The entire members are to be interdependent and independent to make the team building exercise relevant. There should be a provision for positive and creative ideas. All members must be free to air their opinions and ideas. There has to be collective responsibility and accountability.

How to Build an Effective Team?

It is basically the team leader or manager who should create. He must know group behavior and must be good at group psychology. He must build the team so as to achieve the organizational goals and objectives which are measurable, realistic and attainable. He needs to be an excellent jockey till the race is completed. Resolving conflicts in the team, encouraging relevant meetings, sharing goals and objectives, creating a conducive climate, clear demarcation of the roles and responsibilities , providing adequate training, strengthening bottom lines, communicating effectively and efficiently – a powerful team can be built. There is a team facilitator who provides required guidance and support to the team members. An efficient team member can become a successful team facilitator and then as a team leader. The leader must build members who believe in smart work rather than hard work.

There is a subtle difference between smart work and hard work. For instance, there are two teams each containing three members and are asked to cut two different trees of same size shape and width. The members of team A immediately took their axes and started cutting the tree at the root as the time frame fixed is one hour for both to complete the task. Whereas the members of the team B took around 15 minutes to grind their axes and then they began cutting the tree. And they could cut it with in 15 minutes of starting the activity and finished with in 30 minutes by cutting at the base of the tree. The team A began cutting the tree but failed to do with in an hour and took more than that to fell the tree. Here the difference between the team A and B is: The team A did not plan well, coordinate well and on the other hand they worked very hard but could not achieve the result with in the time frame. It is a clear indication of hard work and their sincerity can not be questioned. Where as the team B, planned well, coordinated properly, ground their axes, worked smartly and got the result much before the deadline. It is a clear indication of smart work. And in this growing technological and competitive world it is not the hard work but the smart work that counts.

Merits of Team Work:

According to Herb Kelleher of South West Airlines – “Team play is a fundamental concept ….. If you want to succeed, if you want to win, you have to play as a team.”

The results can be maximized and expedited due to the strength in synergy. When the team members consult one another during the process, they learn to come out openly and learn to respect others’ ideas. Members start believing with each other shedding their inhibitions and hesitations. The outcome will be in exponential proportions. There will be supplementary and complementary of skills and abilities. At times, the team members come out with ideas which they themselves never thought of, from their subconscious minds. The member also realizes his strengths and weaknesses vis-à-vis other members and tries to overcome his weaknesses and strengthens his strengths.

People working in teams develop using two letter word ‘we’ instead of one letter word ‘I’. Stephen Covey, in his book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effectively People’ wrote about the terminology of synergy and it is one of the greatest habits across the successful people in the world.

Working in groups or teams promotes esprit de corps (loyalty), camaraderie, and problem solving ability. People, when work in teams develop the ability to resolve the conflicts amicably. Due to the physical proximity in teams, the members derive job satisfaction by various means and they gradually develop multitasking abilities. By way of discussions and dialogues, bags of information are generated and team members become more knowledgeable. It is here cooperation replaces competition with in the team members. Ability to stay focused is an efficient trait; the members tend to hit the bulls’ eye accurately. No repetition of the work takes place as all are aware of what is going on right under their noses.

Employee turn over is thorny issue in all sectors of the industry and it can be minimized by inculcating team spirit as people do not feel to quit their organizations when they develop good relations with their colleagues. Optimum utilization of time and available resources can be ensured. There will be enhancement of qualitative work and the recognition of hidden potential amongst the employees.

Team Spirit as a Skill Tested In Interviews:

When the students go for employment, the employers look for the team spirit. The employers will be on the look out for this trait and they try to examine whether the candidate possesses this characteristic. Non possession becomes a major liability and the candidate gets rejected. The psychologists and other interviewing officers try to find out this ability by posing questions from different directions and dimensions and when the candidate demonstrates constantly then only there is a possibility to get into the slot. All organizations whether it is civil or military organizations lays great emphasis on this quality.

Soft skills are a cluster of many skills and abilities and it is said that possession of team spirit is one of the major skills. In order to inculcate this quality, the students must learn to work in teams’ right from their childhood itself by participating in sports, cultural activities, in academic careers to avoid displeasure at the time of interviews. To put it in the words of Stephen Covey, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities”.



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