Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course Five, Lesson 12
Reducing Turnover Through Successful Teamwork
Copyright 2001 Dick Wulf
Believe it or not, people do not stay at jobs because of the color of the office carpet, the waiting room aquarium or the interesting dogs they meet while doing their jobs. Nope!
People stay at jobs because of the people with whom they work. Unfortunately, America’s corporate world has compromised the sense of community that a workplace should offer. Unaware corporate executives refer to work groups as teams, hoping that a bunch of people thrown together will work as a team. But it doesn’t happen that way.
Just as we cannot put a Chevy in the garage, call it a Caddy and then sell it for a big profit, so we cannot just tell people to work together and reap the benefits of teamwork.
Remember, people stay in jobs because of the people they work with. They enjoy working in teams — IF those teams are led as teams — which is rarely the case.
Salary can motivate only to a point. But the joy of money earned is easily offset by debt and a number of unrewarding things on the job. For example, in a work group where teamwork is just a word thrown out but doesn’t actually happen, individual performance is sometimes at the mercy of a work group member who doesn’t do a very good job. This frustration makes looking for another job a really attractive idea.
But, if employees are drawn together in a real team effort, one filled with teamwork and team purpose, those people grow close to one another. Accomplishing things together and helping each other succeed knit people together, like peas in a pod. Another job opportunity comes along, but they do not want to leave a team that works well together and makes things happen - not for just a few more dollars.
It might be easy to find a place to work where everyone is pleasant. But, that is not enough to keep them at their job. Every job promises to have nice people.
It is uncommon to find work groups that really accomplish outstanding things by working together. This is because few team leaders are trained in leading the team.
Remember that few people come to work just to do their job, especially if their performance depends on someone else’s performance who is not easy to work with or does a poor job. They may come to work to get a paycheck. However, you can motivate them to become a team that truly enjoys the challenge of the job because they are working at the purpose together. Then they will show up at the office or job site to work together and enjoy relationships with one another.
Successful teams use the assets of the various team members. Knowing that they are valuable to the team and have their role to play keeps people from leaving teams.
Also, people are often unable to commit for the long term if they do not have a sense of ownership of the team. Too often teams are oriented to the desires of the team leader. Team members are recruited to "work for" the leader rather than adopt a team purpose which is their own. But when a team leader realizes that the team and its purpose must belong to the team members rather than the team leader, team members will have the sense of ownership that keeps them on the team and own the job.
Next: Developing Your Team So That it Stays Focused on the Team’s Purpose
in Such a Way That Individual and Team Motivation Is Not Lost