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A Lesson on Teamwork in the Workplace




For the past two weeks, I have unfortunately been rather busy. I blame the MLB playoffs for this.

As a Bronx native, I am a big Yankees fan and so you can imagine at this point, that I am pretty upset after being swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. I’m over it.

I had a really hard time putting together ideas this week for a blog post. It then hit me during the Yankees’ 2012 playoff demise that there is no better topic to talk about then teamwork in the workplace.

How do we succeed if there is no teamwork? How do we succeed if everyone isn’t pitching in with what his or her responsibilities?

I’m going to share my thoughts on these questions and even through in some insights I learned from the Yankees’ playoff run over the course of the past 2 weeks.


How do we succeed if there is no teamwork?

It’s a tough question and in the workplace this can be a really big predicament. In a company there are many people need to work together to get a specific job or project done.

For 162 games out of the season, baseball players have to have teamwork in order to win games. The batters have to do their job and the pitchers have to do their job. The concept is quite simple.

When emotions get in the way, in the workplace we can definitely lose our focus and underperform. This is natural. We have to learn ways in which we can take 5 minutes and walk away from a situation and cool down in order to refocus and achieve the tasks at hand.

For the Yankees, physical injuries have plagued them throughout the season so major contributors to the overall team’s success were out for various stints of time and it definitely took a toll on the team’s morale. This is the same in the workplace. If someone is off or out of the office, others may have to step up and split up the work amongst the other people on the team.

If everyone isn’t pulling his or her weight, then frankly, success can’t be fully achieved. We definitely see this in the workplace when projects don’t meet deadlines or final products just don’t come out with the same quality as they normally do. This post season, some of the Yankee’s star players, the heavy hitters, didn’t produce to everyone’s expectations. It was a constant struggle for a single hit and to the fans and other teammates, it was torturous to watch.


How do we succeed if everyone isn’t pitching in with what his or her responsibilities?

If everyone isn’t picking up some of the slack, the team won’t be able to overcome their adversity. Plain and simple.

For the Yankees, sure their pitching proved to be stellar but their hitting needed much improvement. It’s touch when a player is in a slump physically and their timing is off at the plate. That shouldn’t be an excuse because others on the team can help life up those who are struggling. A coach could say lets try to work on this aspect of your stance or lets discuss when you actually start to swing. I hope that this type of support went on in the Yankee locker room, but we won’t ever know for sure.

In the workplace we can always take a few minutes to explain to someone that he or she is doing something wrong and it’s affecting the further output of the team. A manager or mentor could suggest further training to help refine skills when there is a weakness in skill or knowledge and it is acknowledged by that person.

There is always a way to work harder and to be successful. Get creative. Don’t be afraid to say to another person on your team, “What do you think I can should do to help improve the overall success of the team”


There is no “I” (or “U”) in “TEAM”

In searching for the right image to include with this article, I found a great Willy Wonka meme that make me chuckle at first but it brings about a very valid lesson.

It states, “There’s I in team? There’s no U in team either. So if I’m not on the team, and your not on the team, there is no team.” Outside of the typo for “your”, I realized that it couldn’t make more sense.

A team has to give and take. You have to give your all and the other teammates have to give their all and if anyone on that team can’t give it their all, they are responsible to figure out how to fix their issues.

When the Yankees’ bats were not hitting, many looked at those players who were underperforming and blame them primarily. This is the natural thing to do in the playoffs because a lot is at stake. Their goal for the year is to win the World Series and although you can’t win it every year, there are other teams that are in the playoffs that has a better team dynamic at that time to pull out a clutch hitting and lights out pitching to get to the next round.

In the workplace, we can’t just point fingers at others we have to look inside ourselves and see how we can make the difference. Leave emotions at the door because at the end of the day in order to be successful we need to have others who make up for our weaknesses and pitch in as much as they can so that everyone together gets the credit they deserve.

In the words of the great Lawrence “Yogi” Berra, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”

Go forth and think about how you can help improve the teams you’re on. Make an extra effort to see how you can make a difference!

Photo Credit.

Avatar of Glenn Petriello

About Glenn Petriello

Glenn Petriello is a mid-level HR Generalist working in New York City. Coupled with his enthusiasm for social media and his entrepreneurial spirit, Glenn created The HR Social to provide an interactive blog experience for HR professionals and Social Media enthusiasts.

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