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THE strength and progress of any family, community or nation lies in its people having the ability to work together. Effective living is about working together to bring out the best in our families, marriages, communities and nation.

Society is much better if we learn how to work and think together. Teamwork is key in achieving and getting things done. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says; “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labour.”

No one person has done anything of value in society. We can never really achieve something that impacts positively on society acting alone. Every great work in history was a work of teamwork, though on the surface it usually looks like the work of one man. Nelson Mandela achieved greatness because there was a team around him.

A Chinese proverb says; “Behind an able man there are always other able men.” Teamwork is always essential to building a great nation. Teamwork is actually at the heart of great family, community and national achievements. We must acknowledge the fact that teamwork is valuable in order to become better team players.

The law of significance demands that we realise that we cannot do anything of real value alone. You may know a lot of people who seemingly achieved great things alone, but when you investigate carefully, you will discover that a team of other people was involved. Former President of America, Lydon Johnson said; “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve ourselves.” When we work as a team, we have access to more resources, ideas and energy. Working as a team provides multiple perspectives on how to meet a need or solve a problem. Teams have the capacity to do more than an individual.

I like the cliché that says; “Individuals play the game, but teams win championships,” so true. There are some of us who refuse to be team players despite the above facts, because of ego, insecurities and temperament issues. In real life there are no supermen or superwomen. We must realise that we can’t do everything. We must let go of our ego and get ready to become part of a team.

Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie said; “It marks a big step in your development when you come to realise that other people can help you do a better job than you could do alone.”  Sometimes we fail to promote teamwork because we feel threatened by other people’s gifts or abilities. Insecure people are usually also driven by the spirit of control.

They will only play in the team if they can control others on that team. If we refuse to promote teamwork, we are actually undermining our own potential because potential is realised better in a team. Woodrow Wilson once said; “We should not only use all the brains we have, but also all that we can borrow.” I think that is a profound wise saying.

We must put away antisocial attitudes. He who endeavours to do everything alone and never partners with others, will create a huge barrier to his or her own potential. We must learn to work with others and not against others. None of us is a whole, self-sufficient, independent, or a super-capable person.
We need others and others need us. I like the points that John Maxwell brings out about the impact of good teamwork:

lTeamwork divides the effort and multiplies the effect.
lTalent wins a game, but teamwork wins championships.
l Great teams create communities.
l Adding value to others adds value to you.

In order for teamwork to be effective, we must all put value on each other. When we value people, we will be committed to them, their well-being and their development. Respect is one great ingredient that makes teamwork effective. To function properly in a team, we must respect each other even though we may not agree on everything. Effective teamwork means that we care for one another and appreciate the special role that each one of us plays.

We must be willing to cultivate an attitude of selflessness, by being generous, loyal, value interdependence and avoid internal politics.
Learning to submit to one another is one of the great strengths of people who effectively work together to achieve a common goal. I have learnt that to be a good team player, you must also embrace the spirit of giving secretly. John Bunyan said something very profound; “You have not lived today successfully unless you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

Giving usually breaks the power of selfishness and self-centeredness. When we give to others, we somehow connect with them. We must give love, forgiveness, comfort, strength, money, energy and even our time. To give is to transfer possession of something without expecting to receive a return from them. When we learn how to give to each other, unity will be inevitable. A giving society is a growing society.

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