Teamwork 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Book Review Blog..."The first requirement for a successful team is that each member must have the attitude that they will care for one another."


The makeup of a team may vary from business to business with different personalities, economic, and educational backgrounds but there are some common key requirements for team building regardless of the culture or business industry. The author John Maxwell reflects over his many years of working with a wide variety of people from all walks of life and has found some critical if not essential characteristics of team building. 

The first requirement for a successful team is that each member must have the attitude that they will care for one another (59). When each member knows that their teammates will be there is a supportive role to assist you in the good times and in the bad times there will be a foundation that will be unshakable in which a great team can be built upon. Teams that do not bond have distinct challenges that will inhibit them from building (59). 

The next requirement is that a team must be able to understand and support what is most important. When members of the team do not know the priorities of the team then they are not moving in the same direction and become a detractor to the overall success of the team (61). The leader must be involved in the process of communication and conveys what is most important to each member. This attitude towards communication is equally as important with the individual members. If communication between each person does not take place then those non-verbal members are more likely to move in a direction that is antithetical for the team (62). Team building means growth and an effective team that communicates will grow together both personally and professionally. This can be accomplished through shared learning experiences and individual seminars with the participant teaching the information to others within the organization (63). 

The next requirement is a combination of several as stated from the book and it relates to the self-sacrificing nature of the team member. An effective team will understand that it is best to put the needs of the team as whole above their own. To put it in the context of baseball it may mean to hit a single to advance the third base runner home instead of trying to go for a homerun hit that is out of the ballpark. Every player has as special role on the team and sometimes that means being a starter and at other times that means being a backup. What is important is the desire of each player to put the needs and goals of the team first and not to be looking for individual glory (69). 

A famous quote that is displayed in the New England Patriot’s football locker room is, “Individuals play the game, but teams win championships” (19). John Maxwell shares a principle that states “As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates” (27). The author illustrates this principle in Chapter 3 from an event from history of an expedition to Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary successfully scaled the highest point on earth. They did not make this journey alone but it took hundreds of members on a team to ensure that just two men made it to the very top (31). 

Maxwell, John C. Teamwork 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know. ePub ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 122 pp. $3.99. Kindle e-book. 

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