When teams are like musketeers

Read the article Elisabet Hearn and I wrote for www.2020visionleader.com

There is no room for “going it alone” in teams – unless everyone works together, the team will lose out in every way, individually and collectively.

Successful teams have real team spirit.

The ethos of team spirit was wonderfully depicted by Alexandre Dumas’ timeless story of The Three Musketeers. The musketeers’ motto “All for one and one for all” is as relevant today as it was when the book was written back in the 1800’s. They had taken an oath to always stand up for each other and it created their reality.

“All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall”

Alexandre Duman

Another example of this kind of spirit can be found in the greatest sport teams, as winning teams put the team ahead of themselves. It’s never just about the star of the team, it’s always about the team.

Winning teams show that performance comes from team members coming together, giving it their all – for the team.

Everyone plays an important role – and they know that when they come together, they can achieve the kind of results that could never be achieved individually. This means that even if one of their best players would be missing, the team is still as strong.

This is not necessarily true for most teams, where some team members have a perceived or real “higher status” than their teammates. Others feel inferior as a result and potentially less important, and the star’s absence at best worries and at worst cripples the team’s performance.

With great team spirit everyone is willing to do everything for the team. They know that the team’s mission is bigger than any personal agenda

When you think about it, in the world of sports, you wouldn’t even be allowed to play if you didn’t have a “musketeer mindset”!

Work teams that don’t have this mindset are not tapping into their potential to be a winning team.

A successful team is one where team members trust each other 100%, where they know and understand each other and themselves, and generously share their skills, knowledge and experience for the good of the whole team.

Successful teams are more about HOW they do things together than WHAT they do, and to achieve lasting success, an organisation needs to invest time in creating that kind of team culture and spirit up front. And that investment pays off very quickly.

Just having good individual contributors is not enough, because no one can know everything and when people come together and take joint ownership and offer their expertise, you create cross-pollination of ideas and ultimately better results.

“There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others”

George Shinn

Getting a team to embody the team spirit of “all for one and one for all” takes time, energy and effort, but it is well worth the effort.

Here are 4 ways to create ‘musketeer teams’, creating habits that make a difference:

No 1: Stay away from gossip

Negative, non-constructive gossip is always unhelpful. A great way to stop it is simply to stay away from it, and to ask those who gossip to go and talk to the right sources rather than going behind their backs. If there are concerns that make you/others speculate; talk openly instead, ask questions and get clarity. If gossip isn’t stopped, it becomes a culture, people think it’s OK to do it, which be can become addictive.

No 2: Highlight reasons and benefits

Make sure everyone sees WHY they should work as one team. To create shared ownership, get the team to brainstorm what the reasons and benefits are, or could be, of being a team. Once there are compelling benefits to being a team, it becomes natural and attractive to be part of one!

No 3: Make it your habit to use WE talk

Whether you talk about the team or with the team, always use words that shows how committed you are to the team, and recognise others when they do it.

No 4: Find the answers in the team

Everyone brings their knowledge, ideas and answers to a team – this is what you want to tap into as no one person has all the answers. Encourage team members to be open to the input of others, seeing that everyone has something unique to contribute to the team. What we think affects how we feel, and how we feel affects how we think. Great teams think of their colleagues with amiability, inclusion, respect and care.

For more solutions on how to create a “one for all and all for one” team, check out chapter 9 in “Leading Teams 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions”.

Author: Excellence in Leadership

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