It has been said working together is better than working alone. Some definitions of “team” imply the notion of competition. But how we work together requires positive energy, which is where team spirit is required.
On the website about money, Susan M. Healthfield defined a “team as any group of people organized to interdependently and cooperatively meet the needs of their customers by accomplishing a purpose and goals.” But just because people are organized to work together doesn’t mean they will. It takes more than a structure to bring people in alignment with a purpose. It takes team spirit.
Team spirit requires a feeling of fellowship, pride and loyalty shared by members of the team. If there is an unwillingness to cooperate on behalf of any of the participants gloom or bad blood can lead to dislike and disrupt the achievement of the purpose. The willingness to cooperate is team spirit.
The U.S. Military ran an exercise from 1976 to 1993 with the Military of South Korea called Team Spirit. The goal was to get the North Korean government to stop building nuclear weapons. One thing made this effort fail – they forgot to put North Korea on the team. There was a feeling of camaraderie among the US and South Korean militia but instead of bringing the North Koreans to the negotiating table the problem continues until this day.
Team building requires the spirit of cooperation among all vested parties. The word spirit comes from the Latin meaning “to breathe”. This basic human force gives a person life, energy and power and creates team spirit.
Team Player Ownership
It is the responsibility of each team player to realize their actions come with consequences and rewards. You don’t have to be a boss to be a leader. Taking responsibility gives the individual and the team the power needed to work together and bust through barriers. Making agreements and keeping them builds trust.
In the best world individual team players talk with each other to resolve internal conflict on a regular basis. More than likely it will take intervention by the team leader to drive out difficulties. The leader must provide the skills and resources needed to get the job done and then create the environment for collaboration. Also, roles and responsibilities as well as objectives must be commonly understood by each participant. Finally the team leader needs to be a role model of knowledge sharing, learning together, group problem solving and demonstrating that the team succeeds together or fails together.
Building Team Spirit Competence
There are five steps a person can take to better working relationships creating team spirit.
Connection: Open your “I,” let go of ego and demonstrate self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-confidence.
Inquiry: Assess the issue for group awareness of the team identity and their purpose.
Evaluation: Put to use the information you have, in this step deploy the developing perspectives and knowledge to push at the barriers confronting the team.
Assessment: Take a collective view of what you have accomplished and what lies ahead and if the intentions were fulfilled.
Feedback: How does what happened or is happening inform the personal reality of each team member?
Collaborative Competence and Personal Ownership
Getting people to work together requires building team spirit. This means every participant must feel their job is important, everyone knows the purpose, team members are comfortable talking about conflict, on a regular basis, and the team leader demonstrates inclusiveness and cooperation.