There’s no “I” in team. A common phrase that’s heard across a wide range of industry sectors and it’s very true, there are many teams who have been both successful and otherwise who will testify to this. In fact you don’t have to follow sport too closely to realise that a team full of superstars is not necessarily a superstar team, whereas a well organised, tight-knit unit can achieve far more in far less time.

It’s what sets the special forces apart from the regular army. You have a small team of highly trained, highly focussed personnel who implicitly trust those to the right of them and those to the left of them, those in front and those behind. How many stories are told of these small units challenging overwhelming odds to emerge victorious on the other side with minimal casualties, when the opposition who often totally outnumbered them was left decimated and defeated.

In whatever field you use this example, be it sport or the armed forces or business, it’s true to say that even just one person who tries to be the hero can utterly destroy the team spirit and as such ruins the chances of meeting the objectives that have been set out, and often these people are single out in view of being omitted from the team.

I suppose teamwork and leadership go pretty much hand in hand.

Within a business organisation the same rules apply as any other situation, and in some cases the consequences of not working as a team can result in catastrophic consequences. The health and safety “hero” who has been in the job for many years, maybe has all the qualifications and knows just exactly what to do, because they’ve done it like that for many years and can’t be told otherwise by anyone else, can often be found behind a very poor safety culture.

Teamwork is essential if safety is to be effective on any site. It links directly with the previous posts written about leadership and communication and underpins an effective safety culture, where people want to be safe, not just for their own sake but for the sake of the team.

Because it’s when we start protecting and looking out one and another that strong bonds are formed and it becomes important to us that the team succeeds more so than just ourselves as individuals.