Insights about teamwork

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By Ivana Braga


Teamwork is a complex concept and practice. I have some insights from my experience. However, in advance, I will tell you I don’t have all the answers to make teams efficient. It is because we are talking not about tasks, but people and relationships. The first point to consider, from our human behavior, is the view of teamwork change if we are the person/leader who needs people to work as team and have the work done. That position challenges us. So, instead we say teamwork is not viable; we try to involve people, make them give their best.

That point also helps to clarify the difference between tasks and projects. Tasks can be executed individually, but projects demand a team’s effort. I have worked for organizations, mostly in the nonprofit sector, and teamwork is almost a rule. In general, we have a bare-minimum staff and a lot of work. It also is related to some values the organizations have such as horizontality and democracy. Personally, I love the moment I share an embryonic idea and it becomes a spectacular project after a team meeting, and then, everyone pushes to achieve the results. My best achievements couldn’t happen without others’ talents.

Despite this, I’m not always welcome to the idea of working as a team when asked for. Some disappointed experiences made me reticent. I have perceived that besides personal problems, what upsets a person in the workplace is related to teamwork. The complaints are about the misunderstanding of the project; what he/she really has to do; concerning someone that didn’t meet deadline; regarding different ways to do things or referring to the effort ones have put and others not.

Therefore, my wish is to do an exceptional job and have happy people around me. No, I’m not kind. I’m more productive in this environment. If teamwork is inevitable, some mistakes are.