Pulling the Team Together at Work

Pulling your team together in the work environment is critical to your success at the people side of business. Sports coaches pull their teams together by utilizing the common purpose of the group: winning.  And, usually, the winning goes beyond the final score, it is for the school or for “the Gipper;” it is for a cause that has meaning and importance to the team members.  The common purpose motivates and provides impetus for intense effort.

At work, managers and leaders need to create a similar impetus for high performance.  It doesn’t happen on its own. Managers and leaders help their employees buy into the mission and values of the organization, and be committed to the outcomes of their work.  Yes, this can be done for any job.

Early in the formation of NASA, a janitor was asked about his role in the agency.  He replied, without hesitation, “My job is to put a man on the moon!”  He had pride, purpose, and was committed to performing his job well.

The key to pulling your team together at work is in making the effort to establish the common purpose, mission, and values of your organization.  So, if your company makes cheese, the team can have a goal to make the best cheese on the planet.  The team can make it with camaraderie and with mutual support of one another.  The team can make it efficiently so that wages can increase and the company/employees can prosper.  The team can establish common rules for the workplace which promote safety, mutual support, efficiency, and ultimately, total commitment.

Teams are an essential building block for organizations because they evoke the natural framework us humans have programmed in our brains.  People are comfortable and want to accomplish the work task for the good of the family.  Teams are also remarkably efficient because they can harness the synergy of multiple people.  When teams operate well, members share ideas, build on one another, and solve complex work problems.

Tom DeMaio, PhD


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