To achieve a big dream, you undoubtedly need a big team. Team building is about converting your individual dream into a collective team dream. Without synchronisation of dreams, there cannot be building of teams.
An individual termite working all life, at the most may make one hole in wood but when thousands of them work together, they can make an entire colossal tree hollow.
Similarly, when isolated weak individuals with complementary skills team up together with awareness that their strength lies in cooperating collectively, they can achieve phenomenal success in geometric proportions by harnessing each other’s expertise. Teamwork is about shamelessly borrowing intelligence when one’s own falls short, clearly keeping the goal in mind.
Ego spurts in members ensures that teams disintegrate even before they take shape. Most often people join a team to establish their own stardom. Then team members are used as supporting casts to enhance their image of the hero. The desire to polish the individual image results in ugly scars on the team’s image.
When individual team members see that the team is being used as a platform to showcase one’s ego, they start flaunting their own greatness. Then a team becomes like a multi-headed snake with different heads popping up to establish individual one-up-man-ship over the other heads.
In the Mahabharata, there are fascinating examples of both good and bad team work in action. In the battle of Kurukshetra, though the Kauravas had a much larger team, unluckily, it was largely an ego-driven team. The most important generals in the team disliked one another to the point of hatred and they were busy trying to prove themselves to be better than the others, in terms of intelligence, artillery skills and loyalty.
Karna hated Bhishma, Bhishma hated Shakuni, Shakuni hated Karna, Karna hated Shalya and Shalya hated Bhishma. Most of Duryodhana’s energy went in strategic maintenance of peace between the team members than in making strategic plans for the war. In fact, other than Duryodhana and Shakuni, none of them even wanted the war. They were fighting only because they were bound through some remote cause. Daring to dream with a bad team is like hoping to end a nightmare with a smile.
Team building is about synergising the individual egos of the team members into team confidence. When the insecurity of being overshadowed vanishes, then people don’t mind subordinating their individual ambitions to focus on team goals. When conviction of the dream enters, then commitment flows out of the team.
When people are motivated about the cause they are affiliated to, they work with uncommon zeal to help achieve it. Just like a colony of ants that needs to cross an un-bridged gap makes an ant-bridge, offering their own bodies as bridges for their teammates to cross. In a similar vein, when team members are motivated to the cause, they are ready to burn themselves in the fire of cooperation.
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One obstruction in team work is the rise of egos which focuses on personal agendas and goals.
When personal ambitions take over, team goals get sidelined.
Only when individual egos get synergised into collective team confidence then team goals become common goals.
(The writer is an author, Tedx speaker, story-teller, corporate trainer and visiting faculty in several premier management schools)