Teamwork as a strategy for growth

Teamwork is important if you are managing many employees, running a small business or are a sole business owner. We work with others to create and sustain our business. Think about how working as a team can improve your work environment. Also think about how working with other business owners can enhance your business environment. I can help you discover how teamwork can help improve your bottom line.

The following reasons summarize the importance of teamwork and why it matters to you:by Shada Wehbe Published on March 31, 2017

  • Teamwork motivates unity in the workplaceA teamwork environment promotes an atmosphere that fosters friendship and loyalty. These close-knit relationships motivate employees in parallel and align them to work harder, cooperate and be supportive of one another.
    Individuals possess diverse talents, weaknesses, communication skills, strengths, and habits. Therefore, when a teamwork environment is not encouraged this can pose many challenges towards achieving the overall goals and objectives. This creates an environment where employees become focused on promoting their own achievements and competing against their fellow colleagues. Ultimately, this can lead to an unhealthy and inefficient working environment.
  • Teamwork provides improved efficiency and productivityWhen incorporating teamwork strategies, you become more efficient and productive. This is because it allows the workload to be shared, reducing the pressure on individuals, and ensure tasks are completed within a set time frame. It also allows goals to be more attainable, enhances the optimization of performance, improves job satisfaction and increases work pace.
    Ultimately, when a group of individuals works together, compared to one person working alone, they promote a more efficient work output and are able to complete tasks faster due to many minds intertwined on the same goals and objectives of the business.
  • Teamwork provides great learning opportunitiesWorking in a team enables us to learn from one another’s mistakes. You are able to avoid future errors, gain insight from differing perspectives, and learn new concepts from more experienced colleagues.
    In addition, individuals can expand their skill sets, discover fresh ideas from newer colleagues and therefore ascertain more effective approaches and solutions towards the tasks at hand. This active engagement generates the future articulation, encouragement and innovative capacity to problem solve and generate ideas more effectively and efficiently.
  • Teamwork promotes workplace synergyMutual support shared goals, cooperation and encouragement provide workplace synergy. With this, team members are able to feel a greater sense of accomplishment, are collectively responsible for outcomes achieved and feed individuals with the incentive to perform at higher levels.
    When team members are aware of their own responsibilities and roles, as well as the significance of their output being relied upon by the rest of their team, team members will be driven to share the same vision, values, and goals. The result creates a workplace environment based on fellowship, trust, support, respect, and cooperation.

Invest in your leadership

6 Ways An Executive Coach Can Make You More Successful

Over the past 30 years, executive coaches have gone from rare to common. Most people in corporations assume that being given the chance to work with a coach is a positive thing, and so we seldom find ourselves being asked to explain the benefits of executive coaching. People generally come to us already knowing that they want to engage a coach, and having a fairly clear idea of what they expect from the relationship. So when a potential client asked recently how he would benefit from working with an executive coach, it was a good opportunity for me to reflect on the positive outcomes of coaching.  And it made me realize that other people might also have this question but be hesitant to ask, since coaching has become such an accepted -- even expected -- practice at many companies. So here are the key positives we've observed over almost three decades of offering executive coaching services and seeing what happens when clients take full advantage of the opportunity. If you, as the client, go into a coaching engagement with an open mind and a real willingness to grow, you can reasonably expect to reap these benefits:

1. See yourself more clearly.  This sounds simple, but is actually very important. Research has shown that most of us don't see ourselves very clearly and that it matters: accurate self-awareness in leaders is highly correlated with organizational effectiveness and profitability, and employees prefer to follow leaders who see themselves clearly (and are willing to share their perceptions). When you engage with a good coach, he or she will generally gather input about how others see you at the beginning of the engagement, and share it with you. (The best coaches will also pattern the feedback into key themes, to further clarify others' perceptions of your key strengths and growth areas.)  Throughout the coaching engagement, your coach will also share his or her perceptions of you, based on observation of you and your interactions with others. Most important, if your coach is effective, he or she will help you build skills to see yourself more clearly: to question your assumptions about yourself,  get curious about where you're strong and where you need to grow, and learn to see yourself with "fair witness" eyes.

2. See others more clearly. Over the years, we've often seen leaders run into problems because of their inaccurate assessments of those around them. They may lose good employees because they don't recognize and support their capabilities, or keep poor performers too long because they think they're better than they are.  They may stumble politically because they over- or underestimate someone's ability to have an impact on their career success. A good and insightful coach will often have more neutral and accurate perceptions of those around you than you will, and will share those perceptions with you (especially if he or she is doing other work in your organization). And -- because skilled coaches work to make their coaching clients independent — he or she will also help you apply the same mental skills you learned for seeing yourself more  clearly so that you can become more accurate in your assessment of others.

3. Learn new ways to respond. Marshall Goldsmith, perhaps the best-known executive coach in the U.S., wrote a book called What Got You Here Won't Get You There.  It's a wonderful title because the idea is so true. We all have a set of capabilities and responses that may serve us well as mid-level employees but that won't help us as more senior leaders.  For example, I coached a very smart and capable senior vice president in a media company a couple of years ago who was still mostly just putting her head down and getting her work done -- she hadn't learned to bring her team together and ensure they were all working in sync toward the highest-priority goals. I was able to help her see that her success now depended not only on the quality of her own work but also on her ability to inspire and direct others.  I worked with her to learn the necessary skills and shift her mindset — and she now has new, more useful tools in her "leadership toolkit."

4. Leverage your existing strengths. Having an effective and supportive coach can also help you see and leverage strengths that you already have but that you may be underestimating. Many years ago, I coached a CEO who had a real gift for envisioning products and services that would appeal to customers in the future. He somehow thought that wasn't a big deal (in fact, he said to me at one point, "Doesn't everyone do that?"). I helped him see the uniqueness and value of this capability, and to learn how to lean into it in order to use it more effectively for the benefit of his team and his organization.

5. Build more productive relationships. Leaders can dramatically limit their effectiveness by only being willing or able to build strong relationships with certain kinds of people. And all too often, that means people like themselves -- in background, race, gender, beliefs, or work style. A good coach can help you recognize that tendency in yourself and work against it, both by helping you see and question the limiting assumptions you make about people who aren't like you, and by offering you tools to support you in understanding and creating strong and vital working relationships with a wider variety of people. (Here's one of our favorite models -- we use it in pretty much every coaching engagement and also as a tool for building teams.)

6. Achieve what you want. This is the bottom line for an effective coaching engagement. A good coach can help you get clearer about your goals and dreams, and about what you're capable of doing in order to achieve them. He or she can also be a powerfully useful support system on your journey: someone who knows you very well and wants the best for you -- but is a neutral third party. Unlike your family or your employees, your coach isn't dependent on you for his or her success.  He or she can be honest with you about how you're doing, reminding you of what you've said you want to achieve and letting you know what you're doing that's supporting your intentions -- or getting in your way. Finally, and most importantly, your coach can teach you new ways of thinking and operating, new skills that will allow you to better reach your goals and create the career you want.

I've seen hundreds of executives grow in these ways as a result of working with a skilled coach. But I have two caveats: Your coach has to be good, and you have to be coachable. Because coaching has become so popular during the past couple of decades, there are a lot of people working as coaches who won't necessarily be able to support you in these ways.  Here's some help in sorting the good from the not-so-good when it comes to coaches. And, perhaps even more important: there's you.  If you're not willing to go through the often-daunting, frustrating and embarrassing process of acknowledging that you need to grow, and actually doing what it takes to grow, you won't benefit from having a coach. No matter how old you are or where you are in your career, if you want to get the most from having a coach, you have to be willing to be a novice in some areas.  To support you in this willingness, you might be interested in reading this article or watching this brief video; both are about the art and practice of getting good at new things. Like any new endeavor, working with a coach can be challenging and even a little scary. But if you're brave, committed and curious, you'll find your coaching relationship can be a powerful catalyst to becoming the person you most want to be. I'm the founding partner of Proteus, keynote speaker, business thinker and author of Growing Great Employees, Being Strategic, Leading So People Will Follow and Be Bad First. I'm insatiably curious. I love figuring out how people, situations and objects work, and how they co...  MORERead my latest book, Be Bad First–Get Good at Things FAST to Stay Ready for the Future, and follow me on Twitter, or check out my website.

Invest in your communication culture

Why Every Employee At Your Company Should Have Communications TrainingBlake MorganContributori
CMO Network -Customer Experience Futurist, Author, Keynote SpeakerA call center worker snaps at an angry customer. A frustrated employee takes their story to social media. A marketing team wastes a day going in circles with confusing emails. A retail worker offends a customer and loses a sale. These are things that happen nearly every day, and most of them boil down to one thing—a lack of communications training.
Hiring managers and executives consistently rank good communication as one of the most important skills for employees to have. This is because communication is at the core of every business—even an employee who sits by themselves still likely communicates with people, either on the phone or via email. Being able to get information across clearly makes work more efficient, understandable, and less frustrating. As part of the regular suite of training, every employee at your company should also receive communications training. It is a vital part of keeping an organization running smoothly and cohesively.
Even some successful people are bad communicators, but gaining better communication skills is an almost surefire track to better success. There’s always room for improvement, and everyone can learn from communications training, even someone who has been through it multiple times. Improved work communication has been linked to better job satisfaction, improved company performance, increased productivity, and more empowered employees. Why wouldn’t companies want that for their organization and employees?
Company-wide communications training can transform an organization, but here are three of the biggest outcomes:
Improved workplace communication. Employees in any organization spend much of their time communicating with each other. Even something as simple as a morning greeting or a quick conversation updating someone on a project involves interpersonal communication. People want to work for organizations where open and clear communication is encouraged, but not everyone actually knows how to communicate clearly. Many employees don’t think about their colleagues’ emotions, which can lead to conflict and office politics. Without considering others’ feelings, employees can say things that offend their colleagues and create animosity. While open communication is the goal, it shouldn’t come at the expense of the feelings of others. Communications training teaches employees how to keep their emotions in check and consider the needs of others. Many employees also don’t know how to ask for things, no matter if it’s an extension on a big project, to request a vacation day, or to ask for a raise. They either avoid asking for things or blunder the situation, both of which can lead to awkwardness in the workplace. Teaching employees how to clearly and concisely stand up for themselves and ask for things is an important part of communications training.
Clearer written communication. In our modern digital world, so much communication is written—everything from a quick text message to an email or post on social media is part of communication. Employees have to know the etiquette rules for social media and email. This is particularly important in technical fields, where an unclear email can spell the difference between a successful project and a complete disaster. Don’t underestimate the power of a quick written word and how it can impact how work gets done and how customers feel.

A stronger unified brand. Every employee contributes to your brand, so it’s important to have a company where people communicate well. An employee who has a poorly communicated interaction with a customer can negatively impact the brand. Communications training helps establish consistency in communications standards so employees know what the brand stands for and how to communicate with co-workers and customers in a variety of situations. Communication on an individual level also plays a huge role in establishing each employee’s personal brand. How a person communicates says a lot about them, and in many cases, provides the first impression others have of them.
Strong communication skills are beneficial on an individual and organizational basis. Unclear messages can lead to confusion, both internally and externally with customers. It’s with your company and your employees in mind that you should hold regular communications training. It’s a great way to set employees up for success and move your company forward with everyone on the same page.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and author of "More Is More." Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

Interdependence

Empowering business leadership through custom executive coaching.

Systems theory is one of the most important concepts in organizational communication. Systems theory that is used in organizations was initially adopted from a biological perspective. Similar to a living being, an organization is composed of individual elements that have their own unique function. Each part needs to function independently to contribute to the the system function as a whole. This concept is known as interdependence. Each independent system relies upon the performance of the other systems in the network to contribute to the overall production.

An organizational system relies upon the performance of others to be able to function as a single unit. Leadership is an essential element in helping create an environment where all parts of a system have the ability to function at their optimum levels. Just think of the inspiring speech from renowned hockey coach Herb Brooks in the movie Miracle before his team played the USSR in the semifinal round in the 1980 Olympics. This speech inspired players to perform to the best of their ability, take agency for their actions, and work as a team. The coach set the stage for the members of his team and system to work together to achieve their dream. An inspiring leader can create that potential for members of their organization.

Leadership and other independent units in the system  also have the potential of creating an environment that is negative and restricting. This ripple effect has the potential of disrupting the system, taking away from productivity and harming the company's culture. An example would be the banking crisis in 2008. Ethical violations of company leaders had a ripple effect throughout the US economy and global market. This crisis showed how the interconnectedness of our business practices and the global economy.

Interdependence is key for the functioning of an organization. When members of a group recognize that their performance has an impact on every other part of the organization a leader can enhance their organizational culture.