Sunday, April 24, 2005

Team Spirit

One of the most talked about concept, team spirit is never the less one of the least understood concepts.

If you are a recruiter, let me ask you - how many applications did you receive lately, that didn't mention team spirit as one of the main characteristics of the candidate? It seems like everybody (or almost) knows how to and wants to work in a team. Is it really that true? Are we all very good team players? And more important.... is that truly a must have trait?

For the first question it's easy to find an answer by looking at what happens in reality. In our opinion (MindSmith) the answer will be no, because some of the main problems that HR management has to face today are work groups that don't work so good together, management teams that are not such a team at all, individuals preoccupied more and more about their needs and interests ...and the family spirit vanishing in all the traditional companies ... and even in the small companies. No, because most of as are not sincerely devoted to the team spirit, and some of us just cannot cope with it (personality traits).

The answer for the last question is both yes and no.

Yes because, more and more the jobs, the businesses and almost everything is pulled out in a team and not by single effort ...and more and more we are force to adapt very quickly to new teams (changing jobs, changing homes, towns, countries, interests etc. at the speed of light).

No because one of the main power engines for market economy is individual interests and needs, one of the main power engines in one person's development is his unique desire to become better and better, to achieve more, to satisfy his personal needs. And is also true that we are fundamentally motivated by different things and just "build" different. Some can be very good team players and by this achieving more, and being more satisfied and motivated, some can be very good entrepreneurs and be highly motivated from achieving on their own ideas and efforts, and some of us are doing a bit of both - they start on their own on the quest for new challenges, visions, ideas ... but they easily gather and work in a team to transform them in reality. The last ones are called "LEADERS".

Eventually, being different means being more successful ...and a powerful organization has members from all three categories ... of course, in different proportions.

Getting back to the main question: is it the team spirit "a must have trait"? From the ideas expressed before you could understand that we don't agree with "yes". But if the answer is no, why is such a popular concept and why are so important team-buildings?

We do say that some can be successful (corresponding to their needs and values) and not being great team players. We also said, if you remember, that Leaders (eventually a model of success for almost everybody), have something of both - individualism and team spirit ("You cannot be a great Leader, if you are not (from time to time) a great follower") and we also say that any successful organization must be supported by a strong team (so very good team players).

And why are so important team-buildings? For the individualists - they need to have a minimum knowledge and skill about working in a team (from time to time and in specific cases they all have to work in a team - e.g. establishing a family is, among others, establishing a team). For the "team players" - is basically a step forward in performing better and improving the skill. For the leaders - they need to be a part of their team, and more ... they have to know how to build, maintain and develop teams ... and even more important - to exercise it.

And more good news ... If you participate to a true team-building program (as a very short check list: minimum 2-3 days - best results at 10-14 days, 4-8 people in a team, location - totally different from the usual working place, challenges from medium to hard, constantly changing environment and challenges) you get more than just an improved team working skill and usually better communication.

A great team building program first of all puts you in the right state of mind for success. It helps you get a strong contact with your inner self at a emotionally, rationally, spiritually level that will help you overcome mind and body limits at such a fast rate that will amaze you months after the event. It will help and force you demolish a great number of prejudices about you, colleagues, management staff and life in general …day after day and team building after team building with seemingly unlimited resources.

After that, a great team building will help you help others do the same thing during the event and after. You’ll have such a great level of contact that words will often seem useless and communication will just flow. During the event you will build stories to tell, values to share and keep, trust beyond the professional relation and almost every time friendship that will overpass in time the formal relation.

You’ll probably say … that may be true, but what if it’s just what trainers say, books say, articles say …and has no real correspondent in real life? We have to admit, that in most cases, at least in Romania, it is far from what you can find on the market. Still there are some that can and will do this type of events.

And remember ….the mind functions very similar to a parachute: only when it’s open.


Mircea Boistean


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