On the Priority of Team Work

Nicholas Bate wrote “the priority of team work is not fun” (#10 in the list). I wrote to him and asked for clarification:

Did you mean “team work is a priority, and it’s hard work to get it right,” or “the priority of team work is not to have fun”?

Nicholas responded:

Re teamwork: the latter.

When teaching (especially with MBA audiences) and discussing leadership and teamwork, audiences often argue “the No. 1 priority of a team is to have fun”. I’d argue it’s to get the job done and if that is happening the team will probably have fun as a side benefit.

I told Nicholas I’d never seen team work as a fun activity – it’s (usually incredibly) hard work to get a group of individuals to work together, to understand each other, and to make forward progress on a shared task while dealing with all of the threats to the integrity of the team. There can be definite joy discovered during the team’s journey, and often lifelong friendships can be forged in the heat of the battle … but having fun as the primary driver? No.

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