Businesses, enterprises, and entrepreneurs must accommodate team systems into their structure to grow and successfully the vision set before them.
John Maxwell has written several books on the subject and as a Maxwell certified trainer we have access to his material and mentorship programs. The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork: Embrace Them and Empower your Team and The Essential Qualities of a Team Player are 2 books that I have studied.
For the past 30 years I have been part of teams in various positions, countries, and places of employment, and in my own business. However, until I read John’s books, I hadn’t quite grasped and understood the value of teamwork and it’s changing the environment. I quickly learned that I lacked skills in certain areas and as a result started studying the principles and practices of teamwork. I evaluated and changed my leadership style. It’s possible because leadership can be learned.
Other books written about the need for building on team leadership skills in preparation for such positions are the likes of Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and Simon Sinek’s book “Leaders Eat Last”.
There are two common team divisions in most companies and I’ve worked in both types of environment.
- Traditional departmental teams – The members of such a team are from the same work area. As a trainer and counselor at the University of the Nations for 10 years, I was mainly working in teams that had the same focus – counseling and psychology.
- Cross-functional teams – The members of such a team, work across different areas of expertise. They are a team in the sense that they collaborate and make decisions regarding their areas of expertise, together. I function in a team like this in the Swiss Leaders Group.
Whether you are the boss of your own company, a CEO, a general manager or an employee it is important for employers to recognize the need for their employees to form teams. More importantly, maintaining a teamwork ethic requires 2 things. Firstly, a lot of collaboration and secondly transparency related concepts.
The above 2 concepts include:
- Setting clearly defined goals for each team to pursue
- Getting everyone in the organization to buy into the idea that the teamwork concept only works if everyone is onboard. This includes letting go of the traditional work hierarchies to form collaborations with the rest of the employees or people involved
- Set up norms and practices that guide everyone on how to go about the teamwork concept
- Replace “brainstorming” with “brain swarming”. This allows the team to air their ideas and follow through with them
The Laws of Teamwork
John Maxwell’s seventeen teamwork laws will definitely improve your approach to team building. These laws aim to help you get more work done with the input of your team members. Briefly, some of these laws that have most impacted my life are:
“Individuals play the game. But teams win championships” Chinese Proverb
- The law of significance: This law outlines the significance of taking on tasks as a team. He quotes a Chinese proverb that says, “Individuals play the game. But teams win championships”.
- The law of the big picture: Each member of the team should be willing to take up various roles to help the common good. Importantly it emphasizes the importance of achieving goals instead of focusing on the roles played. This requires some adaptability in team members.
- The law of the niche: Team members should stick to roles that help them add the most value to the team. This is with respect to their skill set.
- The law of Mount Everest: This law outlines that the greater the challenge, the greater the need for an effective team. Build the strength of the team in order to develop the ability to take on greater challenges in the future.
- The law of chain: Just as the chain depends on the bonds that the links have so does the team. A weak link negatively influences the quality of the team, and leaders should be able to raise the bar high enough to either train the weak links to be stronger or to put it bluntly – replace the weak links. Leadership in teams involves tough decision making on the part of leadership.
- The law of the catalyst: A catalyst is people within the team who are not afraid to go after what they want. Such people need to stay motivated as they can act as a source of motivation for the rest of the team. They help the team stay on its toes.
What I love most about The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork is that it comes with a workbook. As a landscaper, I work with a small team of employees and as a trainer in the John Maxwell Team, and Swiss Leaders Group with other trainers and coaches. I love also that these principles and practices have to be read and observed in your own life and team. After that, one can evaluate, discuss and implement activities for the best possible chance of succeeding as a team.
Create a difference in your employees’ effectiveness that’s apparent to everyone in the company. When you get people focused on their strengths, results improve immediately. And by making them aware of what they should individually improve—without taking away from their motivation—results keep improving for years.
You may also get a taste of success in teamwork by taking a few hours to enjoy our Teamwork assessment tool called “The Leadership Game”.
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