It is a great blessing to be a part of a team for an extended period of time.  Many athletes are willing to take less money when their contract expires to play for the same team that they have invested a lot of energy and effort into over the years.  Why?  They know they are valued, appreciated and know that their contributions are important.  However, difficult times arise from time to time.  It could occur when a team member causes problems, finances get tight, or management makes a change that makes things more difficult.  When those times arise, it is vital that find ways to keep your team moving forward.

 I work for a small company, with only 12 stateamwork(124765)Credit: members.   Our boss has promoted the concepts of community and family as it relates to our company, which has brought a greater sense of purpose and enrichment to what we do.  Recently, we went through a “shaking” time at my job. An employee that had been with our company for many years quit abruptly because he felt the management was moving in the wrong direction.  Furthermore, he attempted to convince other employees that he was right and suggested that they follow him to his new job. 

 Our boss gathered us together and addressed the situation – he put the whole story out there without casting judgment on the former employee.  He asked if we had questions and gave an honest answer to each one.  He restated the company’s vision statement and laid out the action steps that will help us carry out our goals for the upcoming year.  Finally, he stated that we can’t stay where we are at as a company lest we become stagnant and irrelevant.  He shared 5 keys to keep us moving forward – great advice that would help any team remain successful.


#1 – When you need to vent, aim upwards.

One of the more damaging things that this former employee did was complain to fellow employees about our boss.  Most of the time, we tuned him out as he was prone to whine about everything.  However, there were times when his complaints would gain traction with a couple other employees.  Positive change happens when you speak to the person that can implement change.  Talking to everyone else will just pile more anger on top.    


#2 – Stick to your assignment.  Remember what you are called to do.

Shake HandsCredit: Creative Commons

A great company will hire people to do a specific job with a specific job description.  A great company will also encourage employees to look for ways to improve efficiency and produce new ideas that fit into the vision of the company.  Problems arise when employees take on responsibilities that were assigned to others.  It is a great feeling when a fellow employee wants to team up with you to help a project become more successful.  When someone decides to do someone else’s job, it devalues the person to whom it was assigned.  A common side-effect to doing someone else’s job is that your assignments will suffer.  Do what you are assigned to do and offer help to others if you feel led to.


#3 - Don’t let jealousy creep in – this will bring division.

 When certain employees experience success, it is fairly easy to see which of your co-workers have strong self-esteem and a solid understanding of teamwork.  A key characteristic of strong teams is that every member sees one person’s success as a team success.  Success can cause people to become arrogant, but you are responsible for how you respond to their success.  Jealousy of others can cause you to think and act in ways that are contrary to who you really are.  Jealousy typically leads to the two main actions that bring division to a team - gossip and backbiting.  When someone on your team is experiencing success, congratulate them and remember that their success has helped strengthen the entire team.

As long as we are on a team, we will deal with difficult times.  The next time you face a tough situation with your team, remember these 3 keys to keep your team moving forward.