Teamwork Leadership

  • Published
  • By Scott Brake
  • 97th Force Support Squadron
Effective leadership can be enhanced with positive teamwork. Whether from within the unit or across an installation, teamwork can make a leader successful in meeting or exceeding unit goals.

Team members must know what the mission is and embrace the "all in" mentality.

Leaders can influence the mood and willingness of unit members by approaching decisions and/or results as unit accomplishments and not just leadership successes. When members realize the unit benefits from mission accomplishment, others will be more apt to become part of the team approach.

Communication from leadership throughout the unit can have a lasting affect on all levels. If team members feel they are part of the unit and not solely employees, unit attitude and cohesiveness will greatly increase. Leadership can measure success by analyzing metrics and percentages against predefined goals, but how do we accurately measure teamwork?

My experience as a supervisor of more than 29 years has made it very easy to determine if negative teamwork is eroding morale and limiting unit accomplishments. Whether identified during local exercises or findings from MAJCOM inspections, ineffective teamwork can undermine successful leadership. One of the biggest challenges leaders can face is determining whether to allocate more resources toward mission accomplishment or taking extra time communicating with all unit members their importance in being part of the team. 

In our current environment of less resources and limited time, leadership might find themselves resolving this dilemma.

Squadron leadership can be influenced by teamwork from other units with overlapping missions.  Most units on an installation interact in executing their specific missions. Teamwork between units and their leaders can determine the overall accomplishments of a base. The importance level of debate between maintenance versus operations has been on-going since Army Air Corps inception, but at the end of the day, both functional areas require teamwork from the other to succeed. Leaders from both areas realize success can't solely be unit independent but by establishing constructive teamwork; when one succeeds, all succeed. 

A deployed unit often receives team members at a high turnover rate and in large numbers, so forming teams and instilling teamwork has to happen very quickly. Personal safety and accomplishing national security goals depend on teamwork from every person. In a heightened security climate, negative teamwork or barriers to effective teamwork, even if due to leadership, need to be eliminated immediately. Ensuring every member realizes their importance is not just imperative at home station but becomes a must in the deployed environment.

Positive teamwork can make a leader's task easier. Realizing teamwork, whether positive or negative, can influence leadership success and is an important first step in establishing unit operating environment. My past experiences have shown a direct correlation with unit success and if they possess strong teamwork from all levels. When all members feel empowered and acknowledgement is made of their importance, members tend to work together in achieving their unit's mission. Teamwork leadership can attribute to success in any Air Force unit.