Thoughts to ponder.
Originally posted on Manage By Walking Around:
Many popular phrases have their roots in sports. For example, the cliché “there is no ‘i’ in team” comes from the idea that a cohesive team of players is more likely to win games than a collection of individual superstars. Players are told to focus on the team’s overall success rather than their individual performance. The corollary to this idea is that stars who are high maintenance cause unrest in locker rooms which, in turn, causes poor performance in games.
Neither of these ideas is necessarily true in sports or in business. In a book titled ‘There Is an I in Team’, Cambridge Business School Professor Mark de Rond explores a variety of research studies and comes to the conclusion that a focus on interpersonal harmony can actually hurt team performance. Talented team members self-censor their contributions to keep the peace. In fact, the book quotes a Harvard study which found that “grumpy orchestras played […] better than orchestras in which all the musicians were quite happy”.
The book examines why it’s so hard to get teams to realize their potential and how to enable individuals to work more effectively on teams. Here’s Prof de Rond summarizing his findings: