How do you define teamwork in contemporary terms?
JG As the cliché goes, TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. This definition is valid in present times as well. It's just that the concept and scope of teamwork has broadened to include cross - functional teams as well as inter - geographical teams; teams that work together in different time zones across multiple functions and channels.
What do you think - Is team building/team work an art or a science? Do you (in your organisation) have ever thought over the chemistry and mathematics of team work (please share with an anecdote)?
JG It's both an art and a science. We once had a team member who would not go into the depth of his work area, delegate everything and not even supervise. However, when it came to reporting to his boss, he would be at the forefront to show off on behalf of all. He did the same successfully 2-3 times. However, very soon others caught his behaviour and exposed him. Transparency and trust are two important pillars of successful team work. A successful team is one where no one wishes to snatch away credit only for himself.
Team players work best when they are made accountable for their contribution. For example, When team players were informed that their names will be displayed in the campaign content that they were required to create, their enthusiasm as well as the quality of work/output improved.
The best team work happens when team players lead and influence each other based on the expertise that they bring to the table.
What does it really mean to be a team player, in times when virtual teams and robots are taking over the workplace where technology neutralizes the chemistry of teamwork?
JG It means one needs to be open minded to the diverse perspectives brought in by the team players from their diverse backgrounds and experiences. Technology helps improve teamwork by bringing people closer. Video conferences, web meetings, chatbots, ultimately help humans perform better and become better team players.
Do you believe that apart from popular traits of effective team and team workers, something more is required in changing fast paced business environment? What should be that "something"?
JG That something is Empathy. Today teams work in a complex environment. People within the team have diverse skill sets and sometimes they are not in a position to appreciate other teammates' challenges. That's where empathy matters. You may not know or fully understand other people's business or skills or challenges, but you still try to empathise with them. After all, contribution of each team member is important for success.
What are some of the myths behind effective teams and team workers?
JG That effective teams don't fight.
In fact healthy fights or arguments or discussions, allow the team to get an all round perspective and prevents the team from making costly mistakes.
That individual achievers cannot be good team players.
Being a good team worker is a skill that can be learnt by anyone. And a great team player can also be a great individual achiever.
What is the role of HR in accelerating chemistry for teamwork?
JG HR can play a critical role in promoting teamwork. Team Games and Competitions can help employees learn teamwork and apply that learning to their on-the-job work teams. Rewards and recognitions that are group or team specific can also help reinforce teamwork. KRAs (key result areas) defined for evaluating employees' performance can also contain elements of teamwork along with individual performance.