Work Better Together Series explores the benefits of team wellbeing in organisations as well as looking into how managers and employees can cultivate a positive work environment. Episode 2 looks at the importance of purpose for team wellbeing.
Story: The Mad Client
At 10pm at night I received a call from a client. My heart told me not to answer the phone but my head said 'If the client is calling right now, it must be urgent." I picked up the phone and I literally felt like the client coming out of the phone to strangle me. The client had been hacked and unsavoury images were popping on the site.
I called my superior with the problem as I did not know where to start at the time. It was my luck as he was with his technical business partner and we could discuss the problem together. In less than a quarter of an hour we not only found a solution but it took me less than an hour to solve when I thought this was unsolveable.
Lesson: You Need Others To Go Far
Although a team is formed by a group of people, who ideally are working towards the same goal, team has more interesting dynamics. One of the core aspects of a team is that of having a core identity as well as different roles that compliment each other. Although a sports team has different individuals with different roles, they compliment each other and together they create a unique identity.
That day I felt that I was part of a team because: 1) I wasn't alone, 2) I was supported
3) My deficiencies were complimented and 4) Managed to solve the problem in much less time. In the end I was left feeling that I was part of the team and feeling a sense of belonging with that team of people.
Implications: Constant Pushing Destroys Motivation
As we come out of the pandemic, stress and conflict are some of the main problems faced by teams. Mainly everyone is so rushed up on doing tasks that they are failing to become aware of the problems or work towards solving them. It is like we have a hole in our tires and we don't stop the car to fix it as we don't have time.
The consequences of such actions is that we put the team members in danger. People can get so scared of saying no to their superiors, that they create a life of misery saying yes. This creates resentment between managers and employees as employees feel that the managers don't take care of them. This in turn creates stress, complaints and resentment as both sides are blind to what is happening.
Theory: Team Purpose Leads To Team Wellbeing
Many managers are driven by career progression, personal fulfillment and recognition. On the other hand many employees care about their livelihood, safety and being appreciated. Trying to get employees to motivated like a manager is counter productive if not dangerous. What creates motivation for both management and employees is when there is a common purpose in the meaningful work being done or the meaningful relationships in the team.
When people are clear about the purpose they are working for, they can focus on what they do rather than on asking questions and bickering with each other (Adair, 2004). Purpose helps to gel a team together allowing for both performance and a sense of belonging. From then people feel clear, safe and excited which in turn leads to productivity, satisfaction and wellbeing.
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Adair, J. (2004). The Concise: Adair on Teambuilding and Motivation. Thorogood Publishing.
Mullins. (2016). Management & Organisational Behaviour. Pearson.