Teamwork and trust. Working together to achieve a common goal. Putting forth effort above and beyond expectations. Relying on others to go the extra mile in order to achieve difficult yet rewarding goals. You would think that upon examining all of these statements, they would in fact go hand in hand on a daily basis. One would operate under the assumption that in order for a team to function as a successful entity, trust among its various individuals would be a forgone conclusion – correct?
Unfortunately, that assumption is incorrect. A team of people, whether in the workplace or elsewhere, is made up of exactly what it says it is – people. It is a conglomeration of imperfect individuals brought together theoretically, to reach a common goal – that is a goal beyond that of simply collecting a paycheck and making a living.
This group of people is collected to achieve an end greater than simple personal gain, through teamwork and trust. However, this group is only as strong as its lowest common denominator — the individual. Considering the individual (at least in our society) operates under free will, what in fact exists, is a recipe for destruction rather than trust borne of teamwork.
Free Will and Cooperation
With individuality comes the concept of free will. With free will comes choice and when one has choice in life, options other than “in the company’s best interest” are aplenty. So how does one take a diverse group of people, who have very little in common, and convince them that they need to cooperate through teamwork to achieve a common goal greater than their own selfish interests?
Absolute authority would be one way to go. With this method, free will is stripped from the individual, leaving them no choice but to perform the tasks set before them or suffer the consequences. This system is indisputably streamlined and on the surface. It’s efficient but hardly conducive to our free, modern society.
Teamwork Through Trust
Another method is to motivate a group of people to pull together as a team through the common experience of trust.
Until recently, personal performance and individual achievement was prized above all other forms of professional conduct. However, as we move into a new age, companies are beginning to recognize that pitting their own people against one another is not only detrimental to the individual, it tends to overall employee performance and consequently business results.
Instead, a work culture of teamwork through trust is slowly becoming more prevalent. When people spend eight-to-twelve hours of every day working together and actually like and trust one another, miraculous things can be achieved.
Trust amongst team members can also be encouraged through group rewards. Realistically, we live in a capitalist economy. What better way to convince a group of people to trust one another and function together through teamwork than employing the carrot rather than the stick?
Successfully employing a bunch of people in an effort of teamwork through trust is unquestionably going to benefit the company as a whole. Why not share that positive reward around? When people are aware that their efforts will result in an extra bonus (above and beyond salary) even individuals who dislike one another personally will tend to set their differences aside, trust each other to perform their jobs competently, and work together to achieve a better life. It is called profit sharing and mutual investment – it results in a positive outcome for all involved – and it works!