Teamwork: Faith in People is a Fundamental Element

Faith that teamwork can emerge in a group is fundamental to successful team building. This essential element of team building can be put into practice in your team.

More often than not, a group of people who clearly share responsibility for a task will successfully self-organize and accomplish that task, usually quite well and with satisfaction.

I’d call this a fundamental principle of team building. Why? Because I’ve seen team building masters lead with and bet on this principle time after time. Such masters operate with a rudimentary faith that teamwork will naturally evolve within groups when a few other basic conditions are present.

Those other basic conditions include:

  1. clear, shared responsibility
  2. the belief that they can successfully address the task

Faith is one of the most powerful tools in my team building arsenal.

It’s also present in every facilitator selected to facilitate seminars or other services for me. I call it faith because the principle is not physical certainty but a metaphysical probability. There is plenty of room for doubt. I have fretted hundreds of times about whether a group with whom I’ve worked would develop into a team.

There is a self-fulfilling prophecy here. Those who don’t demonstrate team building faith obviously don’t believe in the power of this principle and also obviously don’t demonstrate such faith. These folks often thwart a group’s evolution to teamwork through their non-belief — combined with their high need for control (“I’m right”), authority (“Who’s in charge here?”), or independence (“What’s my assignment?”).

Have faith = get faith

If you recognize a lack of faith in yourself and want to develop this power, here’s how: the best way I know to develop any rudiment is through understanding and practice. First, develop your own understanding about how groups evolve into teams by studying the phases of team productivity and the role of participation in creating both commitment and synergy.

You can do this by attending team building trainings that have a solid foundation (such as Creating Results-Based Teams Anytime Anywhere With Anyone), or through reading and researching. Specifically, I recommend studying how our Team Orientation Process™ helps a group get clear and confident about its shared responsibility.

Then put your understanding into practice by showing a little faith in a small group with a clear, short-term task. Develop your faith incrementally by practicing the rudiment with larger tasks, groups, and time horizons. This will make you a powerful leader in team building.

Examine your default posture (concerns, feelings, thoughts) when you are in task groups that lack a clear authority structure. Do you first fear that the group will fail? Or do you anticipate that everything necessary will emerge successfully within the group?

With a little bit of practice and faith, you can make sure that it does.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide. Master leadership or build a responsible team (or family) with The Leadership Gift Program for Leaders.

Posted in Collaboration, Teamwork on 03/30/2011 01:00 am
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