Essay by zoobaA-, November 2005

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The Essence of a Team.

"High Five" by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles talks about building powerfully effective teams. The book emphasizes that "the essence of a team," according to Dr. Blanchard, is "the genuine understanding that none of us is as smart as all of us." Teams allow people to achieve things far beyond our own individual ability. But teamwork also requires powerful motivation for people to put the good of the group ahead of their own self interest.

Teamwork is the backbone of success for many of today's businesses. The days of the lone superstar employee are quickly changing in favor of the winning team, as companies find that group efforts yield better results and require less direct guidance than solitary projects. Following are several ways to foster an effective team environment.

-Encourage Trust.

Demonstrate faith in your employees' ability to accomplish specific tasks and take ownership of projects.

This will increase their confidence and enhance their willingness to generate new ideas.

-Show you trust employees to manage their time and activities efficiently, and encourage prudent risk-taking. When new ideas succeed, generously and openly compliment team members who made the initial suggestions, as well as those who implemented them. More importantly, make it clear that no one will be penalized for taking wise and carefully considered risks, regardless of the results.

-Be a Good Listener

Effective communication goes beyond the spoken word. Experienced managers actually spend a greater amount of their time listening because they know that employees whose concerns and opinions are heard and acted upon are more likely to perform their best.

Part of being a good listener is maintaining an open-door policy whenever possible. This provides your staff with a valuable outlet and resource, allowing them to turn to you for guidance on everything from...