The Power of Work Teams

Don’t ask a business management consultant how to harness the working power of people in groups, ask sports coaches.  They build environments where everyone pulls together for the good (outcome) of the team.  Coaches convey the need to stick together, build skills, and play with commitment.

Teams are the closest you can come in an organization to replicating the sense of security and togetherness you find in a family.  Teams are the answer to what people are looking for when they come to work.  Good teams—teams in which people are treated fairly and with respect—replicate the safety that we found tens of thousands of years ago living in small groups of trusted family members and friends. Managers who recognize this principle have a powerful tool at their disposal that can maximize the potential of their organizations.  It’s hardwired and easy to overlook, but it’s incredibly potent.

The research on attachment tells us that people are drawn to working in smaller groups, much like their original families.  This occurs in the largest of organizations.  For example, in the military, operations are usually organized by forces the size of a battalion or larger, but the functional unit is the squad, which is made up of nine to 10 people.

There are scores of teams in every organization – in billing and marketing departments, in production and marketing.  In each case, you’re going to need leaders who work hard to establish trust, build common purpose, provide individual support, and emphasize accountability and attention to results. 

More about pulling together in my next post.

Tom DeMaio, PhD

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