01-01-2010, 03:57 PM RAJENDRA CHANDORKAR <link updated to site home> ( Search On Cite | Search On Google ) <image no longer exists>
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NAGPUR INDIA
Posts: 80 Team Spirit.
Team spirit is discussed, sadly more often for its absence. When a team performs well nobody bothers, but as soon as the team’s performance starts slipping every body in and most others who are out of the team, stress the lack of team spirit. The discussions are very personal, passionate and some times turn viciously physical. The decency levels are long forgotten and the same heroes are now branded as mercenaries and very often as traitors.
What exactly is a “team”? How it performs? Why it fails? A group of individuals trying to achieve a pre-decided goal in a specific time frame can potentially develop into a team. However, mere association is not enough. Ideally, each member of the team should be aware about his role and work dedicatedly to put in his sincere effort, without thinking whether or not the others are doing the same. The moment he feels that some one else is not doing what some one should do, the weakening of the team sets in. It takes a huge effort to build a team in any area of life. However, its breakdown is instantaneous and subsequently takes Herculean effort to re-build the broken team. This is because the process starts right from the belief building measures of each member, who in the recent past has seen the failure in spite of his efforts. It takes a great motivator to re-establish the value of team building in the defeated mindsets of the members. Any sane and practical person would prefer building a brand new team rather than rebuilding a defeated team. But then the leaders are different lot. They think, confer, and take some hard decisions, follow-up for the correct implementation. The leader ideally finds out what is wrong and not who is at a fault. He sets out to correct and usually refrains from the blame game. An astute mind of the leader ready to adapt and adopt, paves the way to a painfully slow recovery and the resultant success.
However even a good motivator may not put team spirit in the failed team. Each team member feels that in spite of his efforts the team has lost. He forgets that in life many times even the best effort is not just enough for the success. The members only can do something constructive. Team spirit comes more from the heart rather than the physics. It is a function of a feeling rather than logic. Nobody can force instant likings. It takes time for the members of the team to realize that each member of the team is worthwhile and deserves respect. When the team is losing, the strength of the team spirit is put to its real acid test. With outsiders shouting hoarse that the team is finished, it takes a lot of understanding and guts to stand up and stay as a team. The confidence in each other, the belief that they are still good, the instances of earlier victories, the pain for the temporary failures for fellow players, and most importantly to be able to enjoy the success of other players, form the basic ingredients of the team spirit. The credit mongering, blame game, doubts about the sincerity of the others are the sure poisons for any team.
Slight slackness from a member of the team is enough to initiate the downward slide. One morally or commercially corrupt person can ruin the hard-earned harmony in any team. The dictum that the team is as strong as its weakest link is true. The weakest link may not even realize that he is developing in to a hazard and by the time he does, it is too late.
The ego, the misplaced self-perception ever present prevents a member to understand the team. To overcome the “self” and then proceeding to a stage of “selfless contribution” is an arduous journey and only a few can undertake it. Talking about things and actually doing them are two different things. Belief in the mechanics of the team, and to maintain the discipline even when the gains for self are not obviously visible can be a very difficult task. Open acknowledgement of the success outwardly and failure inwardly is the key to the team spirit, which unfortunately is even more volatile than the commercial variety. By the time one realizes its shortage it is gone. When present it is the main empowering agent for the success of the team. The team spirit reflects in the form of enthusiasm and exuberance, which is acknowledged by the great thinkers like R. W. Emerson, who said that nothing much, has been achieved without enthusiasm. The freshness in well-combined team is very visible in the form of the enthusiasm, efforts and of course the energy.
When winning they are a happy bunch of carefree blokes but when really challenged the spring in the step is gone. The shoulders droop, the focus is missing, and going through mere motions sets in. The lack of team spirit is very similar to a car without fuel, which has all the potential to run, but cannot do so. The team spirit is the only glue that binds the individuals and ensures that the sum total of the combined efforts of all individuals is much more than the mere addition. The silver lining in this clouded scenario is that even a small achievement can once again set the tone and the team returns to the winning ways, which are the ultimate and the only objective of any team whether in sports, or business. 8th March 2010 From India, Madras