3 Lessons in Teamwork from the Military
Enemy gunfire has never sounded in my ears. The anxiety of an unseen enemy has never entered my body. The life and death sacrifice has never been a choice for me to consider. These realities are a result of the freedoms I have as an American citizen. I am grateful for all who have accepted the work to defend my country.
Despite my intellectual understanding of the realities of war, I can extrapolate lessons of teamwork that are needed to go into battle. Through stories passed down and shared with me from veterans in my family and amongst my friends, lessons in teamwork from the military can be plucked and examined for understanding and applied to our actions – no matter where we live or what our relation is to the military.
Camaraderie through the team
The fight to live must be a shared outcome and is fueled by the camaraderie amongst soldiers. Imagine a palpable connection between you and your team mates. Imagine going to bat for them in their time of need. Imagine them standing in for you when you need someone. Imagine a single team identity that is upheld by the beliefs and actions of every person on the team.
Camaraderie is the lifeblood of a team. It is what fuels results. Without it, fractured relationships slow down a team. The team is more readily blindsided by surprises and may not withstand the impact. Without camaraderie individuals fight for recognition tearing apart that palpable connection.
Camaraderie is a prime directive of a manager.
Respect for contribution
What each soldier brings to his team is a set of skills and strengths coordinated for maximum results. It’s like an orchestra. Remove one instrument and the sound is off. Remove a soldier and the team is crippled by the absence of her contribution.
In our teams we must know and understand what and how each person contributes his skills and strengths. This is how we build respect for our team members.
Sacrifice personal preferences for the good of the team
No one person is more important than the team. Therefore, personal preferences may not be appropriate if it doesn’t help the team be more effective and cohesive. Not only does a leader understand this, but she expects each team member to evaluate this when decisions are made and counsel is sought – a great display of humility and respect for people and the team as a whole.
Today in America we honor the fallen military men and women who defended our country. This Memorial Day let us not only honor them for their bravery, but for what they can teach us to be stronger leaders, or better still, better human beings.
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