Teams are all around us, and we usually recognise them when we see them. When they play sports, they can be identified by their uniforms, and in the workplace they come together within a company that is often identifiable by a logo or a brand. Of course, simply wearing the same outfit or working for the same brand doesn’t mean working together. A real team is a group of people who interact synergistically, pushing and pulling supportively, so that the individuals work together to produce something that is greater than the sum of the parts. Team members know how they fit into the team, understanding each person’s individual strengths and working to enhance these through cooperation and collaboration.
Whether we are watching teams come face to face in a sporting match or looking at how companies interact or compete in the corporate world, it is apparent that some teams work together better than others. What makes teams work? Or, is there an “art of team work”?
When we think of sports’ teams, it’s easy to understand how and why individual players come together as a whole with a shared desire to win. When we speak of teams in the workplace, it is less apparent and less straightforward. Employees are often hired for their individual skills and work towards individual incentives and are not always aware of their roles as part of the larger team. In order to maximise the potential of employees, managers are realising that it is increasingly important to build robust teams of employees, rather than simply overseeing groups of qualified candidates.
Leadership training is a key way that managers are getting an edge over their competitors. For example, at the London Business School, the Executive Education programme has designed its courses to ensure that today’s leaders are adept at creating high-performing teams, understand teamwork and can drive effective team performance. In today’s business climate, it is crucial for teams to be formed and led efficiently, and more and more elite institutions are promoting the values of team building and team work as cornerstones of successful companies.
 London Business School, Executive Education Portfolio Calendar 2014.
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