Team Effectiveness

Role of genuine respect in organisation’s team effectiveness

“I have always found that the speed of the boss is the speed of the team”…Lee Iacocca

Saying to leaders and managers that their organisations’ success is hinged upon having an effective team is like telling them what they have already known even before they started their career. And not only that, their organisations at one time or the other have invested in what is called team building, team bonding, team cohesion or team synergy – depending on the organization.

From a simplistic viewpoint, one can deduce that their main reason for investing or training their workforce on team building is to get everyone to work together for the growth of the organisation. But in reality, is it possible for someone to sabotage the growth of his or her organisation after knowing the benefits of teamwork?

Yes, it is possible. This is based on the popular belief of how effective team is being created. Some organisations believe that the key to having an effective team is by better communication, understanding the vision of the organisation, cooperation or good chemistry.

The truth is that the foundation of a great or an effective team goes much deeper than that. The foundation then is “genuine respect” for each other and what each other brings to the table – a respect that goes beyond position, beyond educational qualification, beyond gender, beyond economic status, and importantly, beyond idiosyncrasies, ideologies and disagreements.

With this genuine respect comes communication, shared vision, cooperation, good chemistry, and ultimately team success. So it means that without genuine respect for individuals in organisations, we might not be able to have better communication or cooperation that will lead to team success.

There is also a misconception that some leaders have about respect in organisations. They believe that for their subordinates to show genuine respect for them, they always have to be in total “agreement” with their viewpoints. That is very wrong as respect does not equal agreement.

If as leaders and managers we are looking for everyone on the team to agree perfectly with our viewpoints, it may not totally happen, and that might affect the team’s success. In addition, in organisations, it is even dangerous to always have someone’s idea as the best idea probably because of the person’s superior position.

Let us not confuse respect to mean that we will blindly accept what is wrong or unethical just to ‘falsely’ show how respectful we are. Nobody has the whole answers; we all have a portion of the answers. This explains why we need to rely on the views of others where we fall short – and that is even why effective team should exist.

Genuine respect is recognizing the gifts and value in others and utilizing those gifts and value. The quest for superiority or who does better should not be envisaged in a progressive team or organization. The good news is that every employee “sees in part”, so everyone sees, and everyone has a contribution.

Building world-class organization requires that leaders should utilize everybody’s contributions. According to Doug Cartland, Leadership can be seen as the ability to unify a team, motivate it and head it in the right direction. It is also the ability to interpret the gifts and abilities of those with you to best utilize them. The truth is that every employee has a significant role to play in driving growth in every organization, and being able to identify that ability is crucial for every leader and manager.

Final note:

Sometimes, managers fail because they fail to make a difference in the lives they touch, the team members and employees. As leaders and managers, we should help our employees grow, let them shine and when they do, their brilliance will reflect on us. Like what the former chairman of Chrysler (Lee Iacocca) said – “I have always found that the speed of the boss is the speed of the team”.

When genuine respect and the desire for the growth of other team members or employees’ increase, team effectiveness is bound to be achieved. And guess what? Productivity and profitability are bound to increase.


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