What is Team Work


A team is a group of individuals brought together to accomplish a task that cannot be completed effectively by an individual. Team work can be described as working together as a group of people or even a group of groups to achieve a goal.

It is an important part of any business. It is necessary for everyone to work well together in any circumstance. It means having to cooperate. Using the strengths and individual skills of the group. Providing constructive feedback, And being able to work passed personal conflict between individuals.

How efficient and effective your team work is will be determined by the single-minded focus on the end goal. In my experience a length of time a team can be together has a major effect on the ability of individuals to work together.

Why is Teamwork Important?

Let me give you some good reasons and give you scenarios I’ve experienced. What a difference teamwork makes. Teams have become a central part of our work life. But why is it so important?

Teamwork creates Interaction and Cooperation

Working together produces a better result than the sum of individual efforts. It is a better way of working toward achieving a goal. Especially if the workload far exceeds the capabilities of an individual. You have to come together and put your heads together to make things work.

It strengthens individual capabilities and removes limitations of an individual working on his own.

The team can do things an individual working on their own can not.

We see this all the time in our industry. I’ve had a situation where a guard refused to help another guard because he had an indifference with him about a personal matter.

Ensuring that everybody was there for the benefit of the majority reminded team members’ that one cannot function without the other. It meant putting aside differences and interacting to meet a common goal .

Promotes self direction, with less hierarchy.

This is known as self directed team work. It is great to see team members’ who understood their roles and responsibilities within the group. They don’t need the supervisor to bark orders or babysit them. As long as everyone was sharing the workload the team naturally works toward what needs to be done.

Fosters flexibility and responsiveness, especially the ability to respond to change.

When a team are working together they should be adaptable to any changes in operational schedules or even goals. They recognize a problem and make necessary adjustments, adopt a system and as a team ensure the job is done in a fair and reasonable way.

I was in a team involved with providing pretty unconventional security services. Much of the work was so varied and specific I would use a select number of guys I could count on to do the job. Usually at a moments notice.

All it took was to brief them thoroughly and then as a team formulate a strategy divvy up the tasks, come up with a security plan and then execute it.

Clients like working with good teams

Sometimes the customer might be part of the team. The band of guys we had developed a reputation as an easy going team who did their jobs efficiently and professionally.

The ability to work as a team effectively meant each team members’ personality naturally came the fore. A company is only as good as its employees. The growth and reputation of a company is built on these guys, particularly your front line.

Promotes achievement, equality and a camaraderie.

These are essential factors for a motivated workplace. Getting the dynamics right in the beginning can be frustrating but it is an important part of understanding everyone s role within the team and how they will be best used to benefit the team.

There is something quite special when a team gels together, where you don’t really have to say too much but everybody understands what needs to be done without being told. We’ve all experienced the satisfaction of a job well done. In a team situation it creates trust, pride and a strong camaraderie.

When managed well, teamwork is the best way to work!

We have always handpicked our team leaders or supervisors according to personality and qualities that align with the team to get the best result from that team.

Something I have always valued in a team leader is an ability to create participation and involvement of all the team members’ but more importantly to guide his team. Barking orders at them in my opinion is not managing.

Team Dynamics

When you are working in a team environment, there has to be good team dynamics to ensure that they perform well and demonstrate positive behavior.

Team Dynamics are the forces created when there is interaction between different people or groups. These dynamics will influence how a team reacts, behaves or performs. Let’s think about what team dynamics are and the impact they have on a team.

Imagine a small team of six bouncers working in a venue. There are three bouncers who have a strong friendship. This friendship can have a strong influence on the rest of the team. This can impact in various ways, either positively or negatively.

There are other factors or combinations of factors that can be an influence.

Sometimes, an “absence” of a natural force can be a team dynamic. For example, if the head doorman is away from the venue, the other bouncers might be drawn into a change of behavior.


Recognizing Team Dynamics

You can recognize team dynamics by looking for factors that influence team behavior. These factors include but not limited to:

  • Age and gender
  • Personality styles (eg: including or excluding people)
  • Team Roles
  • Cultures and backgrounds (eg. religious beliefs, traditions)
  • Venue or environment layout (eg: set areas dividing teams into two)
  • Tools and technology (eg: email, social media, R.Ts).
  • Organizational culture (eg: company cars acting as status symbols to separate groups of employees)
  • Processes/methodologies/procedures (eg: problem-solving methodology, operating procedures)

As you can see there isn’t just one of these factors at work within the team but a combination of them. The effects of team dynamics are very complex.

Building A Team

Now that we understand the dynamics that can occur within a team here are some principles that will help ensure the Team moves toward achieving its objectives.

Identify a Leader – in any team you will find a leader will be identified or emerge. It is not a leaders job to tell people what to do. Instead, he is there to guide a process, supply resources, coordinate team efforts, but also assist in cross-functional-teamwork.

That is coordinate individual expertise groups within a team. For example in a bigger security team you may have to manage a team that has different specialist teams like front of house team, a patrol team, a static guard team and a mosh pit team. 

They are all specialist functions but they still have to be managed to work toward the overall team objective.

Establish roles and responsibilities Understanding the various functions and responsibilities of a team is critical to success. Taking time to know their strengths, weaknesses and expertise of team members’ will allow people to be matched to their capabilities and assigned their roles to achieve team objectives.

Establish a set of goals and objectives – in any team establishing a goal or mission is paramount. It is what will help you set technical and process goals toward achieving the groups overall mission. It also really helps focus the efforts of the team and give you something to celebrate when you reach the goal.

Manage time to complete the objective – Teams that do better at managing their time achieve better results. It gives teams a clear path to your goal. It can help create strategies and improve on any previous mistakes which in turn could improve your productivity and help understand the limits of the team.

Have regular meetings and thorough briefings -When teams meet, there should be a set of standards that establish how team members’ will behave toward one another. Before every operation a thorough briefing must be conducted help the team focus their efforts, set clear goals for the day, and coordinate around any issues that have come up.

Maladaptive behaviors are dealt with immediately –Maladaptive behavior is behavior that does not meet the standards or norms, unacceptable by the team. It is non-productive behavior that impacts negatively on the team. 

Here is an example, Guys who smoke will have allocated times to have a smoke break if there is someone to cover. That is usually the roving team who are constantly moving and monitoring patrons. You might have a team member who will take smoke breaks well beyond what is acceptable, causing the team to work a little harder and compromising the security of the venue.

This behavior is maladaptive. It replaces what the person should otherwise be doing, it can be very problematic. Needless to say these behaviors need to be dealt with immediately.

Conclusion

There are many advantages of working within a team. As operators, we will more than likely be within one and so an understanding of the inner workings of a team is important.

We have mentioned the complexities of team dynamics and the factors that influence them. But a basic understanding of these influences helps us to overcome unproductive behavior that could impact the team.

Whether I was working within a security team looking after a concert venue or a team transiting the Gulf of Aden there was no such thing as a perfect team. The principals are the same and it was important know your role and responsibility within that team.

This helped you recognize behavior that might otherwise hinder the success of the team. You must make the necessary adjustments to ensure your participation is always aligned to the teams objective.

What I can say is that when a team has been together for a period it begins to create an atmosphere of respect within the group. They listen, they don’t attack the person when they disagree with an idea, they’re respectful of each other’s time and they show appreciation for each other’s effort.

14 Replies to “What is Team Work”

  1. I found this to be an excellent foray into what teamwork is and how the dynamics work within teams. Over the years I have had numerous occasions when teamwork was vital.

    Based on some of your comments within the article, it sounds like you have had some of the same experiences. Particularly in a dangerous or austere setting, teamwork is vital for survival.

    You cover all the advantages teams offer, some great suggestions on how to develop a good team and even cover the roles that can found in a team…

    I would be interested in hearing from you how you react to the inevitable clashes that sometimes occur within teams, i.e. leader/follower differences, or task assignment disagreements, or even persuading the team to get a particular mission accomplished…

    It sounds like you have a lot of experience and can add even more to this excellent article! I believe in teams and always look for ways to make them work well. This article has helped.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Dave,

      appreciate the feedback and thank you for offering suggestions. I will definitely look at making additions and modifications to the article. In the meantime feedback on my other posts are welcome. Thanks Dave.

  2. Hey, Sam!

    I can really relate to your post! I have always valued team work, but as years go by, I see myself trying to cultivate better and more beneficial relations with the team. There is always an ideal balance. But I’ve discovered that the more you give to the team, the more you receive. It may not be in the exact same proportion but we must not let this distract us from seeking the welfare of the group as a whole.

    Thank you very much for underlining the team dynamics and the factors that influence them. The aspect concerning cultures and backgrounds has caught my attention.

    Team dynamics have a lot of complexities, but you have described the beautifully! Thank you very much!

    1. Course taining to understand this subject is important for everyone. I am looking at drafting up a training course if there is enough interest. Would it be something you would be interested in?

      1. Yeah, indeed I’m interested! I would greatly appreciate all the time you put into a course like this! As you have said proper training to understand this subject is important for everyone.
        Thank you very much!

  3. Tremendous article !
    This world as a whole would be a much better place if we not only applied the lessons in this post to organizational topics, but to life in general!
    Awesome job!

    Mike

    1. Hi Mike, I really want to draft up content for training purposes. Associating the learning with life experience is the best type of learning I think. Would you agree?

  4. Thanks you for these insightful comments about team work. I recently started working with a security company on a small team. My boss has never worked with more than 1 person before and now there are four of us. We don’t have team meetings like you suggested in your article. I think i will show him your post! Also, so you have any suggestions for me as the only female working with a team of 3 other men? Thanks:-)

    1. Hi Melo Ann, it seems stumbling across my post has been timely with the revelation of your circumstances. I am sure your superiors will find it useful. Being the only female on the team is an advantage and if your boss has you on his team then he sees the value in your input also. Its important that the team is seen as a unit instead of individuals and as a team it should be singleminded about achieving the goal or the mission. Your perspective and voice is important and as a team it will be determined if it is best for achieving your mission. Please come back and reference some of my other posts. They will be useful.

  5. Great article, I think team work is very crucial in running a successful business. I personally worked in an environment of self employment, normally this would be competitive, however, the colleagues I worked with all looked out for each other and took care of each other rather then competing for each others clients. I believe this created a very nice place for people to come and feel comfortable. We had regular meetings about how we want our clients to feel and how we wanted the business to be presented. It’s important to be on the same page, or at least have similar goals and work together to create this kind of positivity. Thus leading to a successful business.

    1. Hi Lynsey, the skills and principles of team work work in most dynamics. I have had a collaberation of security team come together to provide a service where it was absolutely necessary to be on the same page to get the job done. This would start with a pre emptive meeting with your own team. Then there was a bigger meeting with all the security teams and security team leaders and then security leaders would thoroughly breif his team. communication is imperative and creating a singleminded goal helpedeach team understand their roles within the operation.

  6. I enjoyed reading your article about teamwork and totally agree with the points you make. Teams with good dynamics and respect toward each other can accomplish so much. I love being a part of a team like that. I’ve been part of teams where the leader was not skilled and was unable to mesh the group together and lead them in setting goals and setting responsibilities. No fun at all and no way to get anything accomplished. Good work. -Shirley

    1. Thanks Shirley,

      I have been in roles where I have not as skilled or as qualified as my team members but I won respect through having them involved and contributing and being very confident in my capabilities. A willingness to learn from everyone and confidently guide a team toward a common goal is important. Thanks.

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