The 6 myths about teamwork

Teamwork is one of the most discussed areas in each organization nowadays. Leaders talk about team’s motivation, engagement, environment etc.
Consultants share with leaders’ panacea programs that can help each team to go up to the next level, ensuring that team members will become more engaged and motivated and team will become more productive and effective.
With all this information, theories and solutions, how can we miss to make team working as a well-balanced mechanism? Do we miss something about team work, do e need a different approach to go closer to each team member? With questions like these you are on your way to find what will work for you as a leader to motivate and engage teams.
I personally believe that there are 6 myths about team work and if you bust them away you can start reaching teams goals the way you want to see them happening.
Below is my list of the 6 Myths leaders and people still believe about teamwork that stops them gain tangible results:

  1. Teams are full of harmonious people
    This myth is a result from the believe that people who share same understandings can form an excellent team and achieve amazing results. Why is that not true? People are different. You have to understand that people are led by different emotions, they have different situations in their lives that define their behavior, they react in a different way to the situations they fall in. There is no such thing as harmonized feelings in the team. The truth is that every team has wide variety of emotions and feelings and they can’t be harmonized by using some model because all these feelings and emotions are not collective, but individual.
  2. Team conflict leads to unhealthy environment and lowers results
    This myth is my favorite. I’ve had a manager back in the start of my career who told me:” You have to do your best to ensure there is no conflict in the team. Only people who don’t argue about positions, results, strategies etc. can become a successful team.” And I believed that for almost 2 years. Then I walked in in conflict situation about a key project we have delayed in the team and found that there is nothing wrong with initiating a conflict. At the start we had harsh discussion that led to a deep analysis of the whole project agenda, and a s a team we found even better solution on how to finish the project with better results and also save time from the next project who had to follow completion of the current one. That is why I still believe that there is no such thing as an unhealthy conflict. The mastery you must achieve is not how to stop conflicts, but how to manage them for success.
  3. All people need to work in team
    Not all people are ready to work in teams. There are individuals who achieve better results by working alone. If you want to build an effective team you need to focus on finding those individuals who can ensure remarkable results by being ready to be only part of something bigger. When putting in the team people who like to work alone and don’t value collective efforts you will go from a dream to a nightmare team. Identifying right team members needs to happen in line with your understanding for team culture, values and workflows.
  4. Teamwork guaranties business success
    That is true only for some of the situations. YES, it is great to have a good working team, but some of the tasks and responsibilities of the employees just don’t need a teamwork approach. There are still many activities that does not require people to work with others. In these situations, and with this activities people achieve better results when they work alone. So, if you want to implement the balanced team approach, you first need to define in which situations this approach will be helpful and in which it will only harm the results.
  5. Teams are easy to influence
    This myth comes from the understanding that if people work together, then they share a lot of similarities. Well here I’m going to disappoint you. Even if you have a achieved the goal to build a productive team there are still details in the culture of the team that defines people more as individualists rather than team members. If you want to influence a whole team you first need to analyze team members as individuals. The influencing as a process has to combine elements that have strong impact on each team member as a part of something bigger (team purpose) and as individual (personal values, understandings etc.)
  6. Senior leaders support and encourage team work
    The answer to this myth is YES and NO.
    Don’t worry I’m not a schizophrenic. I will shortly explain why both answers.
    YES, senior leaders support team work – they do it because they need results. It is also easier to manage group that shares similar understandings, then group of individuals who are different one from each other.
    NO, senior leaders don’t like team work –Teams can stop stars to achieve results. Every team has an individual that boosts team performance and results. This internal engine is often a strong individualist looking first for him/herself and then considering what is good for the team. These unique individuals are often hold back from the team norms. Working individually can always guarantee them higher results than working in a team.
    Most of the Senior executives (understand leaders) are just the same as this individual. They have wisely used all the resources they could get to achieve their goal (become a senior executive leader). Their results are not part of a team goal, but individual goals whose execution is only dependable on the Senior leader individual level of energy and effort.
    There is no WE when the result is ME or I.

Nowadays companies promote as positive what is easy to be managed. The corporate culture of each company is a mix of positive emotions and cooperative behavior and individual scores and achievements that form the winning mindset of the Senior leaders. If you want to have a balanced company, achieving results and growing year after year you better look inside the company culture and structure and redefine your understanding of the team approach. Living with the myths of the past is the prerequisite for forming а mindset of the “lagging horse”. Recognizing the myths of the team work and forming mindset and strategy to overcome them can guarantee you a long-term success, coupled with the best in class results from all company employees.


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