Why Teamwork And Collaboration Is Not Always The Answer

Author

Lynda Shaw, Contributor

January 6, 2016

A CEO once told me that he does the job HR used to do.  He said he spends most of his time with his employees building relationships with them, finding out how they are, asking what they think of the competition, what ideas they have, how they see their future, what they need to succeed in their personal development and how he can provide this and so on.

This CEO firmly believes that if his staff are happy then the customers and clients are happy.  When researching his company, it’s clear that his formula is working as the organisation is going from strength to strength.

What if however, when all our focus is on collaboration and teamwork, we are not being as successful as we need?  Is it possible we may be losing sight of the advantages of being self-centred or egocentric?  What if we are doing a disservice to the business leader who has little time for relationship building?

After all inventors, innovators and creative people are individuals who have original ideas and designs and are by definition not team players.  Their thoughts are their own, and can certainly be tweaked by a team and implemented by colleagues, but only following the original idea.

However, even in teams, individuals need to know the golden nugget ‘what’s in it for me’, something team builders often overlook and WIIFM can sometimes be seen as close to treason.  The truth however, is that everyone needs to know how things may benefit them individually if they are to contribute to team success.

So team cultures and collaboration can work well but should not stifle individualism and the spark of originality.  Clearly from the case of the CEO I mentioned previously, collaboration and team spirit work very well there, but in certain situations single-mindedness and ego play a pivotal role too.

Business leaders often have to make difficult decisions that do not qualify them for the ‘most popular boss of the year’ award.  This is a lonely and tough position to be in and runs counter to any desire they may have to seek approval and popularity amongst the staff.

The relationship-building manager should be careful not to cross the line if a team-focused culture has tipped him or her into some kind of pseudo-psychologist role, listening to problems beyond those of professional concern – which is more common than many care to admit.

For the more introvert and single minded, you will find it easy to stay focused on the goals you want to achieve, but remember you can’t do everything alone.  A certain amount of collaboration is necessary, but keep things open and honest.  People may not like what you have to say, but they will appreciate transparency.

Personalities and authenticity are key.  There is no point a business leader trying to be something they are not, people are not stupid and quickly distrust the phoney.

For a company to thrive, many personalities are useful, so let’s try to avoid over-reliance on team culture and thinking negatively about those who appear selfish, and appreciate that sometimes individualism is just what we need to foster.

This article was written by Lynda Shaw from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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