Teamwork key to company success

HARARE - Today we live in an environment where there is stiff business competition, high customer expectations, technological advancement and other social developments at play.

It is imperative therefore to build teamwork based on trust, effective communication and leadership, common goals with a collective responsibility in order to achieve prosperity.

Let’s not forget that companies, sports teams and even families are collectives whose integral parts are team members working towards specific collective goals.

Directors, managers, supervisors, shop-floor employees, coaches, team captains, medical staff, players, fathers, mothers, children, uncles, aunts and everyone else are all integral parts of the collective.

For such entities to remain functional, each member must work towards the common organisational good, regardless of the positions they hold and the organisation in return value individuals who let team spirit inform their day-to-day operations.

Imagine in a game of soccer, if every player displays his dribbling skills for personal aggrandisement that could prove costly to the team, would teams win matches under those circumstances?

Long ago, people thought the bedrock of development in societies lay entirely on material wealth.

In the Zimbabwean context, livestock as well as harvests defined the wealth of a person.

Let us take the example of Susan (not her real name), who has been an information clerk for almost a year for an electrical components wholesale company in Harare.

Management was confident and happy with the company’s four supervisors but things were not working well.

It seemed most unlikely that this was the root cause of the challenges the company was facing.

Perhaps, they finally concluded, the cause of the problem was Susan. Although she had been working as a clerk for less than a year, she already had emerged as one of the informal leaders of the workforce.

Management had recently heard rumblings that Susan was informally agitating for clerks unionising, probably even affiliating with some fly-by-night national union that had no understanding of the industry.

Management had tried to talk with her once. She showed up unannounced in her manager’s office one day, with a long list of complaints, about management, and the work.

Management’s approach had been to listen and hear her out, to see what was troubling her, and then to do something about it — for her own sake, her supervisors and the company.

Thinking back now, however, the main thing they remembered about the conversation was her incredible agitation. They were perplexed that they could not remember specifically what it was she had been so mad about.

Little did they know that Susan had applied for the job simply because a friend told her that the company was a great place to work for, that the pay was excellent, that the working conditions were understandably the best, and that the people she would be working with were friendly and stimulating. Moreover, it was well-known that the company was growing.

That, Susan concluded, meant that there was a good chance for advancement.

Things did not go the way she anticipated. In that year, she had become increasingly frustrated and unhappy at work — and she did not know quite what to do about it.

What, then? She unceremoniously walked out of employment.

Evidently, Susan was not a team player and as such her continued stay at the company was of no benefit to the organisation.

Her own future was compromised because she was not a team player and she ultimately had to ship out.

Most of the time, there should be a team philosophy, which suggests that every member of the team should be a team player.

This philosophy withers away if team members unknowingly or knowingly go different directions.

Crucially, when teams break down, dysfunctional team units manifest, resulting in low production or sales and failure to achieve intended organisational goals.

*Varaigwai is a sociologist, human resources practitioner, educationist as well as labour consultant. He writes here in his personal capacity. Varaigwai can be contacted on

Comments (1)

greatly inspired

chaxie - 19 February 2016

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