Business coach Jonathan Farrington reports that the standards that follow team work should underpin how a person operates. The purpose of a team is to get work done satisfactorily by involving everyone and gaining through their individual strengths. Involving people with a variety of interests on broad issues is motivational and very effective. Myriad views can enhance methods, standards, processes and overall effectiveness and productivity. Other people's differences need to be respected, regardless how unusual they appear, and any personal biases eliminated. It is never healthy to underestimate people or make quick judgments about them. Humans are very complex beings; just because a person says or does one thing, he/she should not be immediately categorized.
When becoming involved with a team, it is necessary to spend time to understand its goals, the ultimate task that is to be performed and each person's responsibilities to accomplish the goals. At first, it is helpful to remain quiet and get the lay of the land. Once feeling more comfortable about how the team functions and the different roles, it is important to contribute ideas and provide helpful feedback on other people's suggestions. Volunteering for sub-tasks, even though they may not be exactly to one's liking, is a way to demonstrate interest, commitment to the team's goals and a desire to be a valuable contributor.
Teams go hand-in-hand with leadership, which is another critical element of a successful business. Leadership is the ability to motivate diverse groups of people towards a common goal. In the past, it was possible to have "managers" who managed or controlled projects and people. Now, without strong leadership a business can easily fail. To succeed in the business world, it is necessary to understand and begin to cultivate leadership characteristics. The majority of the most acknowledged and respected leaders worldwide share certain personality traits, such as the ability to initiate change and inspire a shared vision, at the same time as modeling the skills and behaviors necessary to achieve stated objectives. Effective leaders must also be self-confident in order to enable others to contribute and succeed.
Are leaders born or developed? Disagreement continues about this. Ansary (2009) believes that leadership is a genetic principle. Quoting Sociologist Maxwell Weber "Leadership is a mysterious force that some people are just born with, it is called Charisma." However, in the World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle (2005), J.D. Hunter, CEO of J.D. Hunter Associates training and development firm, outlines steps for how to become a leader who assists others to become their best. He notes that leaders do not have to be in charge to impact others. He also disagrees that people are born leaders, believing that leadership is a skill someone can develop rather than something innate. Effective leadership results from "service and sacrifice," or if someone gets people what they need, they will give back to the leader everything he/she needs. Leadership does not necessarily mean being someone as important as JFK, Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Theresa. Instead, it simply means appreciating people, listening to them and giving them the opportunity to prove themselves.
Over the past several decades, and even most recently, there have been a number of unethical actions in organizations. According to Mohrman (1998), it is practically impossible to imagine a healthy company with a high level of organizational culture if leaders are characterized by immoral ways of actions, or decisions (Mohrman, 1998). Enron personifies the extent to which unethical actions and decisions can ruin an organization.
The saying "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," can be extended unto, "all work and no play makes Jack/Jill dissatisfied and unsuccessful at work." In order to succeed in work, it is necessary to find a balance between work and personal life. For example, a study
A study by Burke, Oberklaid & Burgess analyzed the relationship of 324 female and 128 males to gain employees' perceptions of organizational values supportive of work-personal life integration and their job experiences, work and non-work satisfactions and psychological well-being. Both women and men reported benefits from such values. Women reporting organizational values more supportive of work-personal life integration reported fewer working hours and extra-hours worked per week, more career satisfaction, more optimistic career prospects, less work stress, greater friends' satisfaction, and greater positive emotional and physical well-being. Men reporting organizational values more supportive of work-personal life integration similarly noted less job stress, greater joy in work, less desire to quit, greater job and career satisfaction, more optimistic career prospects, fewer psychosomatic symptoms and more positive emotional and physical well-being.
Organizational psychology provides insights into what makes individuals satisfied and thus successful in their work. It can especially help people who are starting their careers and want to prepare for the major transition from college to the world of work. In today's unsure economy and difficulty of finding work, it becomes even more essential that people are prepared for the challenges they face when going to work. They will learn the traits needed to more easily adapt to this changing environment, get along with others of diverse backgrounds and cultures, assume leadership traits and work with leaders and establish a balanced life, so they are successful not only in their work but also in their personal life.
Ansary, T.(2009). Degrees & Training: What is a Leader? Retrieved March 20, 2010, from http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/departments/elearning/Default.aspx?
Bruce, C.E. (nd) Making the Transition from Campus to Workplace. Black Collegean Retrieved March 20, 2010 from http://www.black-collegian.com/career/transition-199805.shtml
Burke, R.J., Oberklaid, F., & Burgess, Z. (2005) Organizational values, job experiences and satisfactions among female and male psychologists. Community, Work & Family, 8(1): 53-68
Career Media (1999), Graduate Careers in Information Technology, Westlake: Watcham Penrose Associates.