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Time Out

Go Team Go!!! Most of us have offered this encouragement to our favorite professional sports team or from the sidelines at a youth soccer or baseball game. While individual achievement is also supported, early in life in Western culture, we are “taught” the importance of teamwork both in and out of the classroom.

What happens when we enter the world of work? How do some carry forward the tenet of teaming while others go it alone? And how does this impact both individuals and organizations who want work to be emotionally, socially and economically rewarding?

In a study published in The Online Journal of Sport Psychology the authors identified a gap between positive and negative outcomes related to sports participation. Improved physical health, psycho-social development (including the life skills of cooperation, leadership, and self-control), and learning of motor skills are well documented positive outcomes. Negative outcomes such as sports injuries and eating disorders in youth also exist and there is considerable data that suggests pressure to win, team member exclusionary practices, and acts of aggression and violence lead to extremely high team attrition rates in adolescence – estimated to be 1/3 of all participants.

So what does this mean and why does it matter? We believe that effective teaming is essential for individual and organization well-being and financial success. We also recognize that individuals come to their respective work roles with a range of positive and negative team experiences.

Consider thinking about your personal team experiences and see if there is a pattern of positive or negative outcomes. Depending on the results of your informal assessment, list the factors that were present when the experiences were positive, such as a shared goal, appreciation of diversity, or strong personal relationships. Think about a current team that may not be all you want it to be and take one step toward creating a better team experience for yourself and other team members.

Revitalizing our workplaces begins with an assessment of the current reality, comparing that to what you want it to be, and finding ways to bridge the gap. Maybe now is the time to take a time out to explore ways to transform your teams and your organization.

Go Team Go!


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