Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Can Your Team Survive?

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The process of elimination is everywhere in our cultural psyche these days. With elimination game shows (under the guise of “reality television”) proliferating our prime time entertainment, it is not implausible to think that the tactics we see displayed on the small screen might spill over into our thinking about workplace interactions. But can workplace teams survive the new “top dog” mentality?

In almost every elimination game show, the players must face and overcome a challenge. Sometimes, they are given the opportunity to work in teams, or to team up against other players; however, the understanding that only one player can win is never far from each player’s mind. So, although the teams may work together to win a challenge, the motivation to win is never ultimately for the good of the team; the team only functions because to do so fits the individual motivations and machinations of each player.

Look at this now from a workplace perspective. An organization exists to fulfill its mission. It hires individual people to work in teams that can work together to carry out certain tasks that fit the mission and vision of the organization. What would happen if each member of the team approached their duties with the “top dog” mindset – working with others on the surface, while making subtle attempts to undermine the credibility and the effectiveness of the other team members? What if team players worked like the elimination game players, holding clandestine meetings, forming alliances, and plotting to remove other players from the field for their own gain? Would the team survive? The more pressing question is: would the company survive?

The sad truth is that although history proves that backstabbing, water cooler talk, and inside alliances for the purposes of bringing about the demise of someone else’s career are not tactics that promote a healthy, thriving workplace, our current cultural climate promotes doing exactly that. Nonetheless, it is not too late to bring back the time-honoured principles of loyalty, moral commitments, integrity, and honesty to the team environment.

The words of Commander Spock come to mind when I think of teams: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of one.” Taking the “survival of the fittest” mentality to work only undermines productivity, breeds negativity, and depletes the morale of the team – ultimately resulting in financial losses for the company. Working together in strong, productive teams is the only way for businesses to survive in today’s dog-eat-dog climate. That’s why with teams, “Together Everyone Achieves More.”

If you'd like to learn how to help your team survive and thrive in these challenging times, call Leverage U (http://www.angersolution.com/) at 1-866-754-6169 to learn about our dynamic Workplace Survivor: Extreme Team Building program.