Ten years ago, a previous employer asked our team to submit an essay about their favorite teacher in college. I came up with that person’s name in an instant--I bet most of you can do the same. When I received an email back saying “sorry, we can’t use your essay because you didn’t follow the instructions…” I was shocked.
I responded, “Why? He taught me more about life, business and teamwork than any other teacher I have ever experienced.” I received yet another email stating again, “sorry, you didn’t follow the instructions because you selected your soccer coach and not one of your teachers.”
For the record, he coached 33 years and won 363 games. More importantly, he taught over 500 young men the value of teamwork and looking out for your teammates first and yourself second. Those men are now some of the world’s finest leaders, doctors, surgeons, attorneys, judges, engineers, architects, Fortune 500 executives and, of course, coaches and teachers.
Ever try giving yourself a fist bump or a high five? It sounds silly and it’s not cool, after all a fist bump is a spontaneous action reserved for teammates only, not individuals. I learned more from that coach than any other teacher, he left a lasting impression on me. Here are three teamwork concepts he advocated for that can be applied to the construction industry, or any business.
Peer Pressure Fosters Accountability
Peer pressure is a powerful force. When channeled in a healthy way, it promotes looking out for your teammates. It keeps you on task, on time and on budget. Human nature pushes us into that place of natural motivation, drives us to not let down those we respect.
Those same people are usually the ones that don’t want to let you down either. Working together builds that mutual respect and camaraderie.
Winning Together Beats Losing Alone
When a team meets a deadline, secures a big sale or creates an innovative solution to a difficult problem, the celebration can be epic! It also builds trust and boosts morale. It’s infectious and attracts the “A Players." When the team falls short, it’s not as depressing as failing on your own. And more importantly, it’s hard to point the finger at an individual.
Another benefit of operating as a team is that most organizations typically learn more while experiencing a loss. The lows are shorter because there is usually someone on the team ready to pick you back up and encourage the team as a whole to put the loss in the rear view mirror.
Put the Team Ahead of the Individual
Imagine if every project at work revolved around yourself or another individual. It sounds boring and lonely to me. By focusing on putting the goals and needs of the team ahead of our own desires, everyone succeeds. In business, every company should strive for solid ethical and moral behavior which reflects on every employee throughout the company — another infectious quality solid teams nurture and promote.
Enjoy this blog? Check out my previous post on the importance of building relationships in business or browse other resources for building your team in the construction business in our resource library.