Producing the winning teamOn 11 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article The Ireland manager’s decision to put the team before his temperamental starplayer proved to be the right decision. Could this also apply to the workplace?Roy Keane is a footballer capable of extraordinary feats of brilliance on thepitch. Unfortunately, he is also equally world-class at committing fouls,disrupting training and, most recently, making vitriolic attacks on his boss. I wonder how many of us can look back at some of the brilliant personalitieswe have had to work with and thought: Mick McCarthy, I know what you’ve beenthrough. So how do you handle an employee with immense individual skills who seems toundermine the performance of the team as a whole? Are certain individuals sogood at what they do, they simply cannot be excluded from the team? The answer to the latter is ‘no’. It doesn’t matter how skilled anindividual may be, if the team does not function effectively as a whole, thenresults will suffer. There is little point in Roy Keane scoring a goal through somepiece of brilliant individual play if the defence is so demoralised they let intwo or three. There are many examples of teams in all walks of life that – although theymay not have outstanding individuals – pull off some astonishing performances:witness the giant-killing activities of lower league clubs in the FA Cup eachyear. The reason these teams are able to overcome classier opposition isbecause their collective team competencies are strong. The Irish team, far from suffering from the absence of Keane, has managedcreditable draws with both Cameroon and Germany. If they can beat Saudi Arabiaconvincingly today, they have every chance of progressing through to the finalstages. Its commitment to the task is high, the players are communicating well, theyknow each other’s strengths and weaknesses and believe that no matter what thepundits say, they really can achieve their goal. To create a winning team, you must examine the attributes that contribute toteam performance and ask yourself which ones need to be developed. My tips for immediate action include getting the team together socially.Teams work better when members know each other. The best time for this tohappen is when they are relaxed and can talk to each other about non-workrelated issues. Emphasising member strengths is also important. Talk up the strengths of theindividual and the team, and encourage people to chat. If you can get people toapply and share their expertise, then you are well on the way to betterteamwork – so use phrases like: “Talk to Jane about that, she’s excellentat solving that type of problem”. The importance of feeling valued should not be underestimated either. Teammembers need to know that all the hours they are spending and the pressure theyare experiencing is worthwhile. Ensure they feel valued and understand the impact they have on the biggerpicture. Confidence and openness will also play a vital role in strong teamwork. If ateam feels that it has the ability to achieve its goal, it is more likely to doso. But watch out for secrecy, which undermines the performance of many teams.You can encourage openness by being open yourself. By admitting to things thatare not right, you will get the wholehearted support of your team to correctthem. By doing these things, your team’s performance will increase, confidencewill be high and your department will become known as a great place to work.The old adage that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ is nevertruer than when applied to high-performing teams. And what do you do if you have someone brilliant but disruptive in yourteam? There has to come a point when you are prepared to show them the door. Ifyou hit that point, you have to be comfortable that it is the right decision.The literature will support you, your results will support you and, as MickMcCarthy has discovered, the remaining members of the team will support you. Sinclair Stevenson is a senior consultant of Penna Consulting Related posts:No related photos.