Simply gathering people together and telling them what to do is NOT team work. As every sports fan knows, there is a big difference between a group that is casually thrown together and a well-planned and synchronized team. The smart leader knows this and develops a culture that truly promotes team work by people who know themselves and have been well trained.
A group is a mere collection of individuals being led (or more accurately pushed or dragged) to a goal for which they feel no sense of ownership. There is no real delegation. People are merely spoon-fed and told what to do; all creativity and decision-making is centralized at the top. All recognition goes to the head. The relationship with both the ‘leader’ and the goal(s) dictated is impersonal and detached. If things go wrong the feeling is that ‘it’s not my problem’. This is very common in Ghana.
Contrast this with a team where everyone has taken the goal to heart; it is OUR goal instead of the boss’s wishes. It is all about ‘us’ rather ‘them’ (the perceived power brokers). People are working consciously (not just going through the motions without thinking); we are motivated not by lowest common denomination factors such as money but by higher motivators such as a sense of achievement and ownership of the task (which will eventually bring greater success and financial reward).
Each team member contributes knowing that, in a way, we are all leaders. People relish working and the reward, monetary or otherwise is everyone’s. If things are going wrong everyone is motivated to sort things out. Like a finely tuned football team there is an investment by all in the scoring of goals so that all may enjoy the dividends.
An organization which has a culture that not only makes team work safe but actively encourages it can move mountains! As a leader it is important to deliberately create a team culture that supports both individuality and collective effort.
The beauty of teams is that though they are a collective effort, individual uniqueness and expression is not only encouraged and rewarded, it is essential – it is a person’s very uniqueness that makes him valuable to a team.The better the individual performance is the greater the collective effort as long as all eyes are on the same shared goal under sound leadership.