Former basketball coach Phil Jackson claims, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” He is currently the president of the New York Kicks and is widely considered as one of the best coaches in the history of NBA.

There is no doubt many people consider teamwork an essential component of one’s career. While education systems worldwide acknowledge this fact, they struggle to teach it to young minds. Whether teamwork can or cannot be taught is debatable, however experience or exposure in different forms can certainly give students an insight into their future.

To understand how this works, lets break teamwork down into several factors. We can all agree communication is probably the biggest and most important factor that determines the team’s success. We can also agree factors such as evaluation; coordination and attitude will help determine how successful the team turns out. However, all of these components fall under the major underlying factor that is communication. Communication is also the key, to maintaining a strong and hardworking team.

This article is not just for leaders, but also for team members that want to succeed. By emphasizing the role of communication; it is not only the extent to which you can communicate with your team members, but rather how and what you communicate that may affect their work habits.

Carol S. Dweck covered an article for the Scientific American entitled “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids.” In this article she emphasized the role of hard work that lead to achievements rather than intelligence. This in fact is the key to success in all factors of life, not just education but also teamwork.

Over the past several years, research has been shown to promote hard work as a major component of intelligence. The people surrounding you can also influence the extent of your hard work. Dweck claims by raising a child under feedback such as “Good job, you must’ve worked very hard on this” compared to “Wow, you are very smart!” can have a big effect on their future efforts. Students and workers who view intelligence as genetic, or simply as “winning the lottery” have shown to put less effort into their work, resulting with much less success. However those who view intelligence as “a muscle to train” or something to work on and improve are usually those that succeed. It is also no coincidence to find that some of the best, and most intelligent people, such as Bill Gates, Albert Einstein and several other entrepreneurs and scientists were all very hard workers.

This concept applies directly to teamwork, and/or any other work context. If you want to build, and maintain a strong team, make feedback a regular and important component to the task. Critically evaluate the team’s effort, the quality of their job and emphasize their strengths by providing feedback that enhances their efforts rather than their intelligence. Try to say “This is excellent work, you must’ve spent a great deal of time and effort perfecting it” rather than “This is excellent work, you must be very smart.” Your team members will understand the importance and appreciation of their contributed effort, and will continue to do so. A small difference can go a long way.

If you can strengthen your team’s effort, it will surely strengthen yours.

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