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How can I Get the Team to Work Together?

How can I get the team to work together?

How can I get the team to work together?

Do the members of your team seem to act in ways that are contrary to the concept of "Good Team Work"?
Do your team members sometimes fight amongst themselves, and tend to work against each other; rather than with each other? If so, what can you do about it?

Poor team work

It is important that you do tackle the problem of poor teamwork because the effectiveness of any team is dependent on a cooperative spirit.
If there is no cooperation within a team; or worse, if there is too much antagonism between members of the team, then the team's productive capacity will be decimated.
On the other hand, if you can induce the members of the team to find a common frame of reference that will allow them to work together in a spirit of cooperation, then you will tap into the full productive capacity of the team.

The key phrase in the above sentence is "Common frame of reference".

Find the common frame of reference

Although we are all unique and different, it is important to recognise that we are, in many ways, the same. And rather than focusing on our individual personalities and how they make us different from everyone else, wouldn't it be better to focus your attention on what is common to us all, and to use that common factor as your "common frame of reference"?

So what attribute is common to us all?

What attribute do we all share, irrespective of whether you are: a man or a woman; young or old; senior or junior; intelligent or not; educated or not?
What quality do we all share that is inherent in all of us and can form the basis of all team relationships?

Answer: we are all rational beings

Mankind is the only rational animal on the planet. It is the human power of reason that makes humans, human. Without the power to reason, we are (as Desmond Morris called us) Naked Apes.

But you are not a Naked Ape. You are human with a power to reason. Your power to think and to reason problems through with the power of logical deduction and analysis is what makes you special. Your rational faculty is what makes you a Super-Ape. It is the rational faculty that makes humans what they are.

Your rational mind

Your rational mind is what accounts for all your distinctly human powers: your power to read, to write, to speak, to plan, to solve problems, to add up, subtract, divide and multiply, to design technology ; to read maps and understand written instructions.

These are all a function of your rational mind. If you lost your reason, people would say you have lost your mind. Your reasoning mind is your human mind.

Treat all people and all problems according to the principles of reason

In order to build a good team, use reason as your common frame of reference.

The rule I want to suggest is this: Treat all people and all problems according to the principles of reason.

Never treat people unreasonably.
Never be irrational in your actions.

What does it mean to treat people and problems rationally?

It means base all your decisions on a logical evaluation of all the available facts. Don't make decisions based on guesses, or whim, or on whatever seems the easiest option.
Judge people according to the facts of their behaviour.

Don't prejudge people according to your prejudices: Don't judge people because of their colour; or gender; or country of origin, or age, or social class, or accent.
Treating people rationally means; don't get emotional when in conflict. When in conflict don't use highly charged and opinionated, emotionalised, evaluative language, instead use factual, objective NON emotionalised and NON evaluative language.

In general then my point is to treat all people according to a logical evaluation of the facts of their behaviour.
And ask others to treat you according to a logical evaluation of your behaviour: you should not allow yourself to be treated according to prejudice, or malice, or in a threatening way, or in a derogatory way. Insist on being treated as a rational being!

The team should be organised along rational lines.

The team need to agree the following:

  1. What is a rational logical goal at which we should aim? Name the target.
  2. What is the rational plan of actions that will allow us to hit the target?
  3. What is the logical sequence of those actions that will cause us to be most efficient in our use of resources?
  4. What is the proper method of rational communication by which all of us can relate to each other whilst at work, irrespective of our "personality types" or other "unique needs"?

Teams fail when they fail the test of reason.

If you fail the test of reason, then the team will fail.

Look what happens if you break the four principles listed above:

  1. If you cannot agree on what the goal should be, the team will fail.
  2. If you cannot agree a logical plan of action, then your team will fail.
  3. If you cannot agree the right priority order of the actions on the plan, then your team will fail.
  4. If the communication within the team is too emotional, or based on non rational principles such as discrimination based on age, gender, race, country of origin, social orientation, or class, then the team will begin to fragment and fail.

In all cultures there is a certain respect for reason.

For example in English law you can use, "Reasonable force" to protect yourself and your family. But not unreasonable force.

Reasonableness, rationality, logic, a respect for facts, rational goals, rational plans, rational actions, rational conversations, rational conflict management - these are the hallmark of a productive team.

Understanding Team Dynamics in the Workplace.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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