Fostering Team Camaraderie – It’s NOT always about the mission!


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Fostering team camaraderie is no easy task. For many, the team leader-member relationship is that of someone who leads and directs and others who follow. Nothing can be farther from truth than that. You can argue that a good leader leads from the front, is empathetic and so on and so forth. But, that’s not what I am here to discuss today.

I am here to discuss how to invigorate, spread and share the same essence of doer ship and direction across the team, to do one’s best to ensure that each team member is touched by it and dwells in that spirit, so that ultimately, the whole team moves in one direction toward one mission. That’s the stuff great teams’ and great organizations are made of. It takes them over and above individual needs and wants, the organizational benefits and aspirations and toward pure execution to attain a unified mission as one team. It’s an experience par any for the proud members of that team which they cherish forever.

Like I said, getting everyone on the team to think like one is not an easy task. Not easy, but definitely possible! While all individuals have different hot buttons that motivate them and it’s the job of the leader to ensure that they are being actively responded to, its these individuals that come together as a team, to act on one unified objective. The leader and the team members have shared responsibility in helping each other align closer with that mission. And that comes about in several forms of interactions from group to individual settings. Not everyone needs to see the big picture but everyone does need to see the picture from where they stand and understand very clearly their part in fulfilling it. At the same time, team dynamics play a crucial part in how effectively a team performs. This is where the unique differentiator between teams lies. Team dynamics is not strengthened, just by focused concentration on the work at hand. It gets stronger and more effective when the team interacts socially and participates in activities besides work. I am not talking about hitting the bar and sharing silly jokes. For some, that might work to an extent. I am talking about doing things besides work that strengthens their bond and fosters mutual respect and awe for each other. This could mean, sharing hobbies and other skills, connecting to discuss and act on social and volunteer projects, opening each other to new avenues and opportunities, thus fostering learning and cultivating new horizons for the team.

This goes a long way in forming true friendships and bonds between teammates. It takes the relationship to the next level where they draw inspiration from each other. It helps members recognize new strengths and skills in each other, allowing them new found respect for their peers. All of this comes through eventually, when the team acts as one and takes on a challenge head on, in not just successful accomplishments, but accomplishments of a greater quality and higher caliber. This elevates their professional interactions to a new level, helps them find better and more capable personalities within themselves, and most important of all, true happiness in what they do and who they work with everyday.

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Home is Where the Heart is!


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When I am on Yahoo!, I tend to browse through the hundred odd newsreel items on the homepage. Generally, it’s one or two of them that catch my eye to read further. Today, I happened to click on an interview by Zoe Saldana, the actress.

As I read through it, one of her comments stuck with me. She said, “You just gravitate naturally to what your heart yearns for.”

That is so profound.

As a child, you are like a sponge; ready to absorb and learn everything you come across. You start to form opinions, likes and dislikes. Somewhere along as you get introduced to the world around you, you fantasize about everything you aspire to be when you grow up. Through the years, you develop stronger preferences and are left with a few choices that you want to be when you grow up. Later, as a confused teenager, you look around at what’s in demand and what professions are doing well and that dictates your aspirations. By the time, you gain clarity, you are down the path of what you will eventually graduate in and take on a profession. If that clarity comes to you sooner in life, you are one of the lucky few doing something you really enjoy. If it comes later, you would have bumped around doing a few things that you got into for one reason or the other before you realize where your passion lies. In some instances, you have to continue with what you got yourself into although your heart might be somewhere else.

And that is where what Zoe said, so aptly applies. No matter what you do or where you are in life and how impossible it may seem, you WILL gravitate toward your heart’s natural desire. You will find a way to do what you enjoy most. And when you work in the realm of what you love, it is no longer work. You lose the sense of time and effort and produce your very best, naturally and easily. So, no matter how insurmountable your life’s challenges may seem, keep dreaming, my friend and keep trying. Do not give up or give in! You heart will draw you toward your passion and you will be one with it. This is not my promise, but that of your own heart!

Image Courtesy of FreeMediaGoo

Experience vs. Enthusiasm: What do you think is more important to get a job done?


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When looking to hire someone, what do you give more importance to?

Most employers look for potential hires to have been there and done that. Experience at doing something and being successful at it previously is a key requirement when looking to fill a job. Although experience definitely adds to a potential hire’s qualifications and can help reduce or totally eliminate a learning curve, it is not always as important as you may think.

What is more important is the excitement a potential hire shows for the position applied for. How hungry are they for the opportunity? How excited are they to take on the challenge? What attracts them to the organization, the business and the particular role? Is their energy contagious?

An enthusiastic individual will develop expertise soon enough and gain experience as they learn and figure things out. After all, everyone starts with what they do from scratch. Someone gave you an opportunity to do what you do and that’s how you gained experience. It’s important to find and nurture the excitement in your hires for they very soon will be invaluable as resources with the right levels of enthusiasm, expertise and experience developed on the job. For all the experience one may have on the job, what if they lack the enthusiasm. They may continue to do an average or perhaps, an optimum job due to their experience of having done that before but you will never be able to expect them to set new standards, find innovative ways of doing things and thus influence the team with their enthusiastic streak, thus motivating all to do better and take pride in what they do. Enthusiasm makes one go the extra mile for the sheer experience of enjoying the work at hand. In fact, resources that get excited about their job tend to stay longer, produce better and share their expertise with others, thus passing their excitement through everyone they interact with.

The need for experience is seen as a key requirement for senior roles. Experience is a definite asset in leadership roles for it proves the point that you have done something before and been successful at it, but experience tempered with enthusiasm serves better. Sometimes, enthusiasm does take precedence over experience in senior roles as well since, the candidate brings in several transferable skills to the role and the lack of experience in the particular field should not be a deterrent if the person is hungry and excited about the role since all of their previous experiences will add thrust to their enthusiasm and help them figure things out. In fact, they will see things in a different light due to the uniqueness of their background and that could be the bedrock of new and creative ways of doing things within the role.

Again, when evaluating someone with minimum related experience but excited about an opportunity; it is important to ensure that their alternate experiences and background are a result of their investments in their education, learning, skill development, efforts and most importantly, their enthusiasm in what they did previously.

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