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Teamwork Shirking Responsibility Workload

What do you do when one person works harder and faster at busy times, and a second person throws up his hands and demands help? This means that the first person ends up doing all of his own work and part of the second person's too. There is supposed to be teamwork, but the concept of teamwork seems to assume that employees are identical in skills, judgment, and work ethic. It also absolves management of a lot of responsibility because problems can be blamed on lack of teamwork. Please explain.

In the situation you described, you do not really have a team, so you are not going to find any teamwork. At best, you are a small work group. To have a team, there needs to be communication, coordination, a shared sense of purpose, direction, mission, and objectives, all under effective leadership.

The concept of teamwork does not look at team members as being identical and interchangeable. In fact, studies have found that diversity in teams tends to increase productivity and creativity. The problem is that people cannot be merely placed in a department with the assumption that this inherently makes them a team. Rather, there is a need for formal efforts to build the group into a team and to provide it with solid guidance and support.

When a manager claims that inadequate teamwork has undercut the quality or quantity of a department's work, the real problem is that team is not a team, and the manager is not managing.

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