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Leslie Budd on... teamwork

Updated Thursday, 8th July 2010

Leslie Budd asks whether businesses are wasting time by trying to make colleagues like each other.

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The main challenge for human relations in business and organisations is how to manage awkward or difficult employees.  The solution often proposed is to build a team ethos.  But how do you deal with colleagues who don’t like each other?  Should you send them on teambuilding exercises like playing crazy golf or letting them shoot each other using paintball guns?  We seem to live in an era when we live for work and work to live so that professional and personal boundaries increasingly become blurred.  In many organisations, managers frequently assume that colleagues should like each other, so we all pull together.

But football casts doubt on this assumption.  The history of the World Cup is full of stories of players hating each other in successful teams.  Whether these hatreds were based on disputes over sex, money and drugs, they had little impact on the field of play.  As the finals of these competitions show us, you don’t have to like your colleagues, subordinates or bosses; you just have to respect them. 

That’s my view.  You can join the debate with The Open University.





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