Inspire Teamwork in USA: Recognize Individual Contributions

Teamwork in western cultures, especially in the USA, recognizes individual contributions to the team. Contrary to the old myth, there is an I in team.  In fact there are a few I’s — individual initiative and identity fueling team results.  Recognizing the “I’s” inspires greater effort, contributions and the willingness to share and learn.  For non-American leaders of American workplace teams, this information is critical for results.

Individual Identities Fuel Team Results Image by:Paparutzi

Great Leaders Inspire Teamwork Through Recognition

  1. Learn and understand what essential pieces each team member delivers to the team.
  2. Make it clear that the focus is the team results through initiative and contribution.
  3. Establish this two step dialogue as the team culture: What do you bring TO the team? What are you learning FROM the team? Introduce this concept at an all hands meeting. Once all understand the purpose of it, do it formally at the end of each week; collate and post the results. It offers individual recognition that simultaneously reinforces contributions to the team. You can recognize and boost morale while avoiding the negative contest aspects of many recognition awards.

It takes individual efforts to produce a team result. Those individual efforts need fuel and recognition is one very strong fuel. Having team members highlight what they learn from each other, keeps that fuel flowing in the direction of team results!

Whether you are new to leadership or a non-American leading USA teams, using these steps from the beginning puts the team on a path to long term success.

What else would you add to this list to fuel zealous effort and contribution to team results?

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers workshops to develop service and teamwork that bridges the gaps of diversity. Her new DVD on regional differences in USA is a “must see” for any teams selling or delivering service to American customers.

5 Responses to “Inspire Teamwork in USA: Recognize Individual Contributions”

  1. Anne Egros says:

    Hi Kate,
    Very interesting. I think it is human nature to look for integration and to contribute to the goals of a group of individuals sharing something in common. My experience of working in multicultural teams is that everybody want some kind for recognition for their individual contribution to the team. However in Japan for example people feel embarrassed if the individual recognition is public. Japanese put teamwork as their #1 value in organizations and have a system call “kaizen” that means “constant improvement” usually through teamwork. If you have a multicultural team working in USA people may have a different attitude than in their own country but it is still valuable to know Professor Hofstede’s five intercultural dimensions as a base for discussiion (If you are interested I can send you an article about cultural dimensions I post in my blog).

    Have a great Monday

    • Kate Nasser says:

      This is exactly what I meant about Western vs. Eastern. I am grateful for the detail you added about Japanese ‘teamwork “kaizen” and would love it if you would post the URL to your the article you mentioned right here in this comment section of the post.

      Constant improvement is all about learning. I look forward to having the reference here for all to read.
      Many thanks!

  2. putting the “I” in “team” is a requisite for organizational success. Ensuring that each person on the team knows the “why” is an added part.
    Why am I on this team?
    Why are the other people on this team?
    Why now? Why this project? Why are you the team leader?

    Additionally understanding that to some people “teamwork” in a traditional sense is not one of their value & commitments. So ensuring that, that person can contribute their individual talents in a non-traditional team sense…keep the “I” in team.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Michael,
      Thanks for your “add” of the “why” in team. Although not always possible to give every explanation, it certainly is helpful for people to understand the urgency of the team, the purpose, and the people.

      Also, I think that even team members who don’t have it “teamwork” as a value, must learn the teamwork concept in order contribute. I am not talking about rah rah activities rather the integral actions and communications of a team. If every team member stretches their comfort zone, the team grows overall.

      Warmest wishes and thanks,

KateNasser on Facebook KateNasser Blog KateNasser on Twitter KateNasser on LinkedIn KateNasser on Pinterest