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Conversations Helping others Human Resources Team effectiveness Values

Team Help

Most companies have teamwork as a value. But that doesn’t mean it’s always done well. Good teamwork is about helping each other.

I wonder what percentage of companies have some version of teamwork in their values.

All the companies I was employed by had some form of teamwork in their values. 

Teamwork, like integrity, is the value almost every company posts on its walls.

That last part of the sentence was intentional — ‘the posting on the walls’ part.

What would be interesting is to post also on the walls what, in reality, the actual values are in all those companies around the world. 

Here are a few I’d like to entertain.

Like, we love working in silos.

Or, we only show integrity when people are looking.

Or, we’re experts; we know everything better.

Those would be cool values to brag about (I’m being cynical here).

The truth is that what’s posted on the walls is often not what we experience in reality. People often behave differently.

Behave.

That’s the keyword here.

Values are the talking. Behaviors are the walking.

Walk the talk. 

The reason why the talk doesn’t get walked is that the required behaviors are not present.

Here’s what I mean by that:

  1. In many cases, expected behaviors are not defined. 
     
  2. Hiring is often not done with behavioral expectations at the forefront.
     
  3. People are often not rewarded, appreciated, or called out for demonstrating the right behaviors.
     
  4. People are also not provided with feedback when they don’t behave as the values suggest. 
     
  5. Because many supervisors are not able to provide positive or developmental feedback.

So, what are the consequences for teamwork, the subject of this insight?

In my definition of teamwork, you’ll see the following patterns.
  • People have a high degree of self-awareness. They know their strengths and developmental areas.
     
  • Part of that self-awareness is that they know their expertise areas, but they also know that not knowing it all and asking for help is a sign of strength.
     
  • Not only do they ask for help, but they also do so proactively. Not because of reactive or corrective action but because they know everyone benefits when help is actively sought. 
     
  • That help crosses boundaries, functions, or, if already present, silos. Ideas, products, services, processes, etc., are better off when created with a collaborative, multiple-perspective attitude.
     
  • When done so, and with a better-than-most outcome accomplished, the achievement is actively celebrated. And for celebration, I use a broad definition, starting with actively recognizing the (team) work done. 
     
  • Finally, this (the five above) can only be accomplished when you have a culture where it’s ok AND practiced to pause, think, and act. Making the time to think through how the work gets done, who needs to be involved (and who doesn’t), and ask for help is time (extremely) well invested. 

You can use the above as a checklist and assess for yourself how much upside there still is with your teamwork.

In conclusion: good teamwork is about helping each other. Team Help would therefore be a better term because it sets the expectation upfront.

Your turn: when was the last time you asked for help?

Do more of what makes you happy!

Erikjan

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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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