With the current excitement triggered for many with the ensuing football world cup, I have been pondering, “What makes a great team great?” As I write this, England have now won their first two games, and will have now made the final 16, and it remains to be seen how great their team is (for those of you who are football fans, I will keep my fingers and toes crossed).
Following on with football, I am reminded of Leicester City winning the 2016 Premier League, having started the season as favourites for relegation at the end of the season, with odds of 5000:1 of a premiership league being offered for them. They were not renowned for their superstar players, although a few of you may now recall the rise of Jamie Vardy as a top scorer. This team serves as a great reminder of how individuals can come together and, at least in the eyes of the nation’s football fans, create magic. They also offer hope to all sorts of teams out there in challenging work settings, where others have low expectations of what a team is capable of, that coming together, united by a shared sense of purpose, using the best that everyone can offer in combination can truly achieve fantastic results. It does not work when teams rely on their superstar players, given the ongoing debates in the football world about whether Cristiano Ronaldo (playing for the Portuguese team) or Lionel Messi (Playing for Argentina) is the greatest player, Messi could not save his team from a 3-nil defeat against Croatia. This serves as a reminder for great teams to build a way of working together which draws on the strengths of all of its members
Across all industries, we know that effective teams deliver better results, including in health care settings where they save more lives. As a clinician for many years in the NHS, I learned my trade and skills to help me in my work with patients, but there were few, if any programmes working with teams on their team working. We live in a world which tends to value task focus over any attention to process, perhaps with a little more emphasis on a team’s process, of considering how, as a group of individuals, they can work effectively together, they could achieve so much more. In facing what ever challenges lie ahead for your work team, take some time, together to think about how you can collectively be most effective, how can you best engage with each other, and for you all to be clear about your collective and individual’s tasks are. Taking the time to do this may seem like an unwanted additional challenge but could save you time and deliver better results in the long term.
Amanda Clark, The Wellbeing Collective.