Teamwork is a much-mentioned practice in many organizations. Businesses post phrases such as “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision,” “There is no I in Team,” and other statements on every common area possible. Too many times this is just throwing around words that “go in one ear and out the other” with very little value created for the organization. And then there is the negative use of the team concept by accusing individuals of not being team players.
Not everyone embraces the typical version of teamwork in small business:
- Homogeneous staff
- Fit with culture
- No conflict
- Everybody loves teamwork
- Business success requires teamwork
- Management supports teamwork
It is also easy to abuse concepts such as passion, ‘one priority only,’ pride, 360-degree feedback and ‘work sharing’ if not managed with a healthy business mindset.
That Business Mindset includes mutual respect for the ‘team’ players of the SMB/SME.
That is not to say that those concepts are not important when applied and used as effective business tools. The challenge is to make sure that they are not just a shield of appearance, as action and results are bigger than words.
Many studies have found, that contradictory (to above) behaviors and less intuitive ‘team’ activity have produced extraordinary results especially for smaller units in business.
Some of these characteristics are:
- Complementary competencies
- Healthy constructive debate
- Many activities are best handled by a focused ‘team’ task structure rather than a broad ‘everybody tries to contribute’ mentality.
- Management engagement in each of the above characteristics instead of being worried about ‘losing control’ when ‘teamwork’ is allowed
A better definition of teamwork in small business:
Following is a suggestion for why and how effective Team Work management is essential:
Why: The challenge for any SMB/SME owner is to be able to run the business without actually having to ‘run’ the business. That means that the owner should be able to be on vacation without any chaos or other unwanted event occurring, for example.
How: The Owner should take on the role of being the ‘hurdle manager’ to reduce or eliminate factors that hinder teamwork when it is of value to the company.
In other words, don’t push teamwork–instead, let it come ‘naturally’ where it has a fit and a value for the company and the business partners.
Some examples of what the owner can do to reduce such hurdles;
- Encourage mutual respect, discourage behind the back communication.
- Encourage co-dependency on creating success for complementary functions, maybe incentivize.
- Don’t ever sit back and watch the ‘drama.’
- Be very cautious about making preferential promises that may cause workplace friction.
- Avoid ‘holy cows,’ individuals ‘protected’ for some non-business reason.
- Allow healthy dialogue for creative ideas to come forward, though don’t let it be a conflict game.
- Don’t’ allow ‘teamwork’ proponents to use teamwork as an excuse to cherry pick assignments.
- And do ‘adjustment chats’ in private, not when everyone is listening through the walls or in the open – encourage mutual respect
Understanding teamwork in small business imperative. Using these definitions the small business owner can implement a healthy and beneficial team atmosphere in their Organization.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: