Teamwork is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done when Sharing Responsibility

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2001 - 196 sider
Knowing how to work effectively in and through groups may be the single most important skill anyone can develop in today's collaborative, team-based workplace. Unfortunately, all of the resources available on teamwork put the emphasis on group process and ignore the role of-and benefits to-the individual. But effective teamwork isn't only a group skill set; it's an individual skill set as well. Teamwork Is an Individual Skill shows readers how to develop the skills to thrive on any team, under any circumstances. No longer will readers find themselves complaining, "I got assigned to a bad team." Instead, they'll know what to do to make any team work for them.
Drawing on over twenty years of experience successfully developing professional teams in product development, R&D, and high-tech environments, Christopher Avery and his coauthors use brief thought-provoking essays, personal and teambuilding exercises, case studies, and insights from business leaders to teach readers how to build responsible and productive relationships at work. The authors show how and why your ability to assume personal responsibility-for your own work on a team and for the team's collective work-is the most important factor in ensuring a productive team experience.
Teambuilding, the authors point out, is essentially a series of conversations between people who share responsibility to get something done. Teamwork Is an Individual Skill describes the way these conversations typically progress, and shows the reader how to predict and direct these conversations so that they can maximize the benefits to both themselves and to their team.
Designed for easy access and for use by both individuals and groups, Teamwork Is an Individual Skill will equip readers with the mental skills and behaviors that will help them achieve personal goals while contributing to their team's success.

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Review: Teamwork Is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility

Brukerevaluering  - Jack Vinson - Goodreads

Awesome book. Here's what I said on my blog. Les hele vurderingen


Teamwork As an Individual Not GroupSkill
Creating Powerful Partnerships
Collaborating on Purpose
Trusting Just Right
The Collaborative Mindset
Demonstrating TeamWisdom from This Point Forward
About Partnerwerks
About the Authors

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Vanlige uttrykk og setninger

Om forfatteren (2001)

Introduction: Developing TeamWisdom for Personal Success

DO YOU SHARE responsibility with others to get work done but don''t have authority over them (and they don''t have authority over you)? If your answer to this question is "yes," like millions of other people trying to sort through the structure and dynamics of the new workplace, you can benefit immensely from the ideas and tools in this book.

Are you tired of hearing, and maybe even saying, "I got put in a bad team?" I know I am. This is the most common excuse for non-performance I hear as a business advisor, and it usually comes from highly skilled professionals! Finding oneself in a bad team is not a pleasant experience. But being in a bad team is to completely miss the point. It doesn''t matter whether your team is naturally effective or ineffective. More and more frequently people are finding that in the new workplace they have to get their work done through a team regardless of whether that team is good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. The point here is that people need to know how to make teams work for them. This book aims to show you how.

For these and many other reasons that I will share as we go along, I firmly believe that teamwork should no longer be considered a group skill. Instead, teamwork must be considered an1
2individual skill and the responsibility of every individual in the organization. Why? Not treating teamwork as an individual skill and responsibility allows otherwise highly skilled employees to justify their non-performance by pointing fingers at others. This is an especially critical issue for highly capable professionals seeking to remain employable in the future.

So, who are these workers who share responsibility for getting results but don''t have control over their colleagues? Here''s my far from exhaustive list:

Individual contributors who must rely on the work of others in order to get their own work done: engineers, scientists, analysts, planners, marketers, sales-people, accountants, technicians, administrators, and many others.
People assigned to work in teams: developers, designers, creative people, coders, specialists, engineers, and scientists.
People assigned to lead teams: program managers, product managers, project managers, team leaders, matrix managers, and technical exerts.
Managers and executives who wish to empower people within and across their direct authority.
This book is for anyone who works in an environment of shared responsibility. It does not matter whether the shared responsibility occurs in a formal team, in a hierarchical environment, or as the result of a management role. It does not matter whether the shared responsibility occurs in a public, private, profit, non-profit, or large or small organization. To sum up for a moment, I don''t know anyone who doesn''t work in an environment of shared responsibility. The truth is everyone can benefit from what I call "TeamWisdom(tm)." 3

What Is Team Wisdom?

TeamWisdom refers to all the individual mental skills and behaviors that lead to highly responsible and productive relationships at work. The idea is based on my definition of "team": A team is a group of individuals responding successfully to the opportunity presented by shared responsibility. Thus someone with TeamWisdom takes responsibility for ensuring that the group rises to the occasion, and in the process, makes sure his own work gets done and done well.

Why should you take personal responsibility for the performance of every team in which you serve?

You don''t need me to tell you that we live and work in an age of increasing reliance on teams, partnerships, collaborations, horizontal processes, value chains, and webs and networks for getting things done. Your ability to create high quality, productive relationships is fast becoming the most important factor in getting your work done at all. It once was management''s job to dole out individual work and then integrate the pieces. Now, organizations are doling out the work in larger chunks to teams and expecting the teams to divide and integrate the work in a manner that is most effective and efficient for them.

TeamWisdom Can Help You...
Get More Done with Less Time and Energy

I have no interest in helping you learn to be a good and compliant team player. I consider that term to be an insulting label that connotes someone whose primary characteristic is compliance. Instead, my interest is in helping you make maximum use of a team of which you are a member. Use the team to get your work done and get your work noticed. Instead of thinking of yourself as a component in a team, I want you instead to think of yourself as being served by the team, which4 is a lever for you and your abilities. That''s right, my invitation is for you to learn to see your relationships at work as opportunities to leverage your talents and get results.

In my experience, people who approach every work relationship with the intention that they are going to take 100-percent responsibility for the quality and productivity of that relationship actually get more done with less effort.

How is getting more from less possible, you may ask? Synergy. Synergy is an overused term that few people accurately understand, but people with TeamWisdom understand it. The reason you can get more done with less time and energy is because any relationship that operates highly has far greater output than the individual input of the collaborators. This occurs because team members in high performing relationships do a much better job of applying the unique perspectives, information, and abilities that each member brings to the collaboration. Now, wouldn''t you like to consistently do more with less and reap the extra rewards? I am convinced that if we all understood synergy better, we would be much happier when working interdependently because we would actually see that our reward can consistently be greater than our effort.

...Earn More

If you know how to produce synergy in a relationship, you can create employment situations where you are consistently producing more value. You know how to leverage your own value through a team (and you know how to leverage your teammates'' value too).

I believe that we are not very far from the day when most professionals will be measured not on individual deliverables and output, but on how their teams perform and on how well they are able to get their work done.5

...Attain Satisfaction

People who take 100-percent responsibility for creating quality, productive relationships at work tend to struggle less with bureaucracy and politics. Instead, they are more interested in getting work done. Responsible relationships invite people to use their expertise in the most efficient way possible. Such relationships reward your psyche and spirit, and allow you to make an impact and be acknowledged.

...Transform Your Workplace

By implementing the ideas in this book, you can help your organization and its members by helping yourself. Imagine a place where people do not blame others or make excuses when things go wrong. Imagine a place where agendas are aligned instead of hidden and where everyone can win instead of living in fear of losing. Everyday, through your own actions, you either reinforce the way things currently are or else demonstrate a different possibility and preference.

Understanding Hierarchies and Teams

Change consultants promote and build teams both as a means for achieving change and as a means for accomplishing work in changing environments. Because of their integrative nature, teams, we hold, are more flexible, innovative, permeable, responsive, and adaptive than are hierarchies. Teams also engender greater commitment from members who develop a sense of purpose and ownership by having a voice in what gets done.

But even teams can sometimes come up short.

Teaming can be really tough to get started and maintain. Many individuals--especially smart, high achievers--can experience great angst if asked to serve in teams. They can go to6 great lengths to avoid anything that smells like a team. Like the "starter" culture necessary for making a new batch of sourdough bread, there is a "cultural ooze" required for teamwork to flourish. This general orientation is harder to engender among certain individuals and in some organizational environments.

People blame the hierarchical culture, and I think it''s true that if hierarchies did not produce the familiar controlling mindset that bogs down organizational progress, there would be no need for the teams movement. Teamwork often develops naturally and easily. Just visit any playground in the world to observe that girls and boys know innately by age five how to organize themselves around a shared task. This suggests that teamwork is a natural human process, and a skillset at least partially developed at an early age in every individual.

Are Hierarchies and Teams Compatible?

I have found that images and metaphors can help when drawing distinctions between hierarchies and teams. The purpose of the illustration below is to help you begin associating "tall" social structures with hierarchical organizations and "flat" social structures with team organizations.

Consider the image on the left in Figure I.1, "Tall Structure," to be the typical accountability hierarchy or chain

Figure I.1. Tall Organizational Structure vs. Flat Organizational Structure

of command. And consider

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