Teamwork. It’s the one word which you hear the most in organisations. Thousands of books have been written about the importance of teamwork in organisations. From the CEO to the HR manager to your own boss — it is the one aspect of work that they love to expound upon the most. Teams — and teamwork — are extolled as the lynchpins of organisations. Good teams make for good organisations, goes the reasoning.

Leaders know this. Good managers know that they need the backing of a good team behind them in order to achieve their goals. Those who succeed at work, those who get recognised and promoted, inevitably turn out to be the leaders of successful teams.

But what happens when things do not pan out exactly as envisaged. For example, what happens when a project fails? Then who gets the blame? Is the team held responsible, but the individuals who comprise the team remain unaffected? Is the team as a whole punished, even though some of the individual members may have done their part of the work exceedingly well? Or is it the team leader, or even the CEO, held individually accountable? Is owning up to failure seen as a trait of a good leader?

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(This article was published on July 26, 2012)
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