Team Work

From a professional standpoint, there is nothing more rewarding than team work. When every person knows how to do their job, and they work together with the precision of a watch to get the job done, it is impressive to see. Every moving part is important. It is effective and efficient, and each part depends on the other in order to work in harmony.

However, what I have seen time and time again is a lack of team work in most companies and governmental agencies. People are more concerned with back stabbing and working their way to the top, and it does not matter who they run over in the process. Gossiping, lying to your co-workers and subordinates, no accountability for personal actions on and off duty, lack of supervision, and out dated policy and procedures serve as the catalyst for these actions.

What is team work? It is the cumulation of ongoing training, repetitions, focus, dependability, loyalty, knowing how to do your job and the job of your team mates, and trust. Whether in battle or in life, you must be able to depend on the person to your left and to your right. You are only as good as your weakest link.

In an article titled, “Business Lessons Learned from a Day of Navy SEAL Training” by Sujan Patel, he provides several key lessons we can all take from Navy SEALs. These include:

Communication- It is important that each person takes the time to communicate. It is the only way to know what the other person is doing, and an open line of communication prevents ambiguity.

Trust- There has to be trust between all team members, without trust you can never be a cohesive unit. This is one of the most covenant things that Special Forces ingrain in their members. There is never a reason to lie or bend the truth because it means the others cannot trust you as a person or to get the job done.  There will always be doubt in the minds of those around you, and your word will mean nothing.

Mastery- Know your skills and the skills of those around you. When things go bad, make sure you know your job better than anyone else, and if you know the job of those around you, when someone gets knocked down or doesn’t come to work, you can fill in without losing efficiency. If you are lacking in one area or another, train, and train hard. Be a master of your craft.

Planning- 7 p’s. Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance. “Hope for the best, and plan for the worst.” These are the words you should try to live by. When you are planning for something, take a step back, and look at the event or issue from a different perspective. What I like to do is have a co-worker look at the same set of circumstances and provide feedback. Maybe they were able to see something I wasn’t able to see. I want to have a contingency plan in place for any situation. Because when things go wrong, they usually go very wrong. This is where team work can have a huge impact. Each member should feel as though they have had a say in the planning process.

Be Tough- Life is hard, suck it up. When ever you get hit in the face by life, deal with it. It is not going to be easy, but you must have the will to push forward. Never freaking quit. If you do not get anything else from this post, do not quit. However, poor team work makes things harder, so step up when you need to do so. Be able to fill multiple roles as both a leader and follower.

Life is Good- remember, it can always be worse. No matter your situation, there are people in the world who have it much worse than you do. Try to display a good attitude and be positive even in the face of adversity.

In the end, team work is the back bone of any organization. There will always be those who complain, but the most successful organizations and teams, weed out those who cannot be team players. They have a zero tolerance for these types of people. Instead of complaining, help those who need it. Lead by example, show support for your coworkers. If all else fails, at least you did everything you could do to make the team better.

About PhDMedic

I have a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution, with a concentration in International Peace and Conflict, and I am a National Registry Paramedic with 30 years in emergency services as a provider and educator. View all posts by PhDMedic

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