TEAMWORK
  • Communicating information, sharing assignments and working cohesively with the FFL team
  • Appreciating and leveraging the strengths of others, relying on them for help, input and feedback
  • Volunteering to help someone else complete a task without expecting credit for it

HARRINGTON COMMENTARY

There is an important link between teamwork and self-assessment. By its definition, self-assessment sounds like a task for an individual, not a team, but recently I have been learning more about how the two support one other.

Have you ever taken a self-assessment? Perhaps you wanted to find out more about your temperament, IQ, communication habits, or optimal career. In most every circumstance, at work or at home, I have found it helpful to take a deeper look into how I am equipped to handle life. It helps me improve, and hopefully, do a better job serving and fulfilling my responsibilities to my family, co-workers and clients.

Not too long ago I did a leadership agility assessment. It helped me identify gaps in my leadership skills, areas in which I thought I was doing a better job than I actually was. Once my bruised ego dealt with the fact that I wasn’t quite the statesman visionary that I wanted to be, I determined to improve myself.

I was telling a friend about my desire to function as a more effective leader. He asked me if I had ever asked my teammates to join in on the process. More than just doing a 360 assessment, had I ever asked my colleagues to partner with me in helping me improve as a leader? The answer was “no, not really.” But for good reason! After all, I am already the boss. Do I now have to add “help John be better” to everyone’s job descriptions? I want to be a greater leader for them, not a greater burden on them.

Then my friend shared an article with me, entitled ‘Leadership is a Contact Sport: The “Follow-up Factor” in Management Development.’ The article talks broadly about the mechanisms of improving leadership skills and I highly recommend it. I read the article and one statement really stood out to me:

Our studies show that when co-workers are involved in leadership development, the leaders they are helping tend to become more effective. Leaders who ask for input and then follow up to see if progress is being made are seen as people who care.

Those two sentences struck a chord with me and I realized that it was okay to ask for help to be a better leader.

… which brings me back to teamwork, this week’s Funds For Learning GuideMark. I love teamwork and every day I am learning more about the importance of it. What I am discovering is that teamwork extends into every aspect of an organization: providing a service, lending a hand – and, yes, even to being a better leader. To improve as an individual, or as a leader, I need to trust that the team I rely on to support our clients can also support me in my own leadership development.

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Key Words and Phrases

Reliance and interdependence; Common goals; Shared responsibility; Cooperation; Mutual accountability; Blended strengths; Esprit de corps; Trust in one another.

Opposite Terms

Going it alone; Not trusting others; Not supporting others; Not relying on others.

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GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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