Working Together As a Team

May 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss Articles

Steven L. Doran

We seem to have gotten away from the concept of demanding that we all work together as a team and what it is to be loyal to our organization. I see this more and more. I also see more persons going out of their way to catch persons they work with making a mistake, then using it in an attempt to gain status within their group.  Then to use it as a tool to improve the person.

In youth we are typically our own worst enemies and critics, a lot of our problems are caused by our own inability to look at the big picture and move forward without any thought or consideration at what may lie ahead. We listen to the wrong person and move forward with out taking on additional council and considering if we have been given the best advice.  This in turn creates more conflict and problems than necessary

As we get older we learn that life is difficult not only for us but for others as well. If our priorities are in order we use our knowledge and past mistakes to teach those around us through our own experience.

Loyalty has to go both ways and we have to lead by example regardless of our position within the organization. No matter what we do a certain percentage of our co-workers will follow suit, and begin bringing about positive change.   It will insure that future generations are better equipped for their chosen profession and life in general.

As we teach people to cope with the problems they face on the job we need to instill in their brain to stop, think and gain control of themselves and the situation before moving forward.  In essence think outside of the box. They may only have a split second to do so.  But in the end it will keep them out of harms way both physically and professionally.   This includes following the advice of another when faced with making a critical or career choice. Encourage them to do their home work.  

We have to tell them the truth about the job and the people they work with. Although war stories are fun and entertaining they do not shed the appropriate light on the issues at hand and within the system. We also have to look out for them so they do not get caught up with the wrong crowd. By that I mean the persons within the organization who promote mediocrity, and whose sole purpose is destroying the team from the inside by using petty situations rumors and threats to destroy the Esprit De Corps.

As stated earlier everyone makes mistakes. When they occur we should not be waiting to pounce on the individual who committed the error.  On the contrary we should be guiding them through the situation, using it as a learning tool.  In turn we should not let others in the organization do this to our colleagues or subordinates. We should stand up and be counted as persons who will not participate or tolerate this type of behavior.

I can think of countless situations due to my lack of experience in a particular area where I have made errors. Fortunately for me in most of these situations I had a supervisor or senior employee who understood it was a mistake of the heart.  I was just trying my best with my limited experience.

Each took me aside and explained to me how to do it right. They did not run to the supervisor or my fellow employees and tell them what a looser I was and how I screwed up.  None of them were waiting in the background to relish in my humiliation. They corrected me, taught me the appropriate manner in which to conduct myself and how to get the job done.  It was never mentioned again and they did not say a word to anyone.

Now I am not by any means condoning criminal activity or blatant, malicious disregard for policies or procedures, the safety or security of others. What I am saying is that we have to take into account that when someone comes into our organization they are not the all knowing all seeing OZ, who always knows what to do and what to say.  Learning is a non stop life experience for all of us.  We are all in a constantly learning new things.

Policies and procedures are guidelines to assist persons within an organization to do their job in an appropriate and efficient manner. They are not put into place to be used as a trap, or a vehicle to get even in some personal conflict, or to put someone in their place because they may surpass us in rank or responsibility.

The change has to begin at the top. Our people need to know that you get what you give and that anything destructive to the organizational effort will not be tolerated. To include people who breed discontent.

Each member of the team must learn to give and take. You can not build confidence and team effort with a Sledge Hammer where all you are doing is tearing people down. You have to have a balance.  Discipline is essential it should be quick and decisive. However personnel should never fear retribution or humiliation when legitimately asking for help or when they make an honest mistake.  They should always feel free to come forward and talk about it.

A problem you know about can be easily corrected. The one you do not know about will be left to fester and explode. I am not condoning intentional incompetence or mediocrity, just open lines of communication. This is key to the success of your operation.
Stick to the facts in every situation you are confronted with, gather them yourself. When you use second had suspect information the confidence of your people and fellow employees melts away. Never jump to conclusions based on initial statements.

You can only maintain your standing with your fellow employees and subordinates if the information you provide to them is correct. Stay away from making comments based on rumors or personal feelings.

Even though it may help them improve never just tell them what they are doing wrong. Take time to point out what your coworkers did right as well.  Never live in the past. Deal with each situation accordingly as it presents itself and move on.

If your personnel or coworkers feel uncertain about how you are going to react to any given situation. It will quickly undermine their self-confidence and their ability to work as a team.

Those around you must be confident in you and your abilities. They must be able to trust you. Using them for your own personal gain is completely unacceptable.

Remember there are no perfect situations but if we all do our part to accomplish the goals or our organization. All of our lives become easier, and our productivity increases.

Copyright © 2009 by Steven L. Doran


All rights reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without written permission from the author Steven L. Doran.



One Comment on "Working Together As a Team"

  1. DeRace on Sat, 15th Aug 2009 1:01 PM 

    Awesome stuff, I love your articles wish all managers were as smart as you.

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