YKK Stories

2019-04-01 Issue 53 – Fundamental Behavior 13 – Be a team player

April 1, 2019
Author: YKK
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When I was young, I thought working with friends would be the best. In my imagination, if I worked with my best friends and we had a great time every day, and if the work was fun, there would be a good atmosphere of teamwork. But lately, I’ve started to change my thinking. I realized that a strong team is necessary to achieve higher goals, and becoming a stronger team is not all fun. Teams become strong by working through difficult problems. Friendship alone doesn’t make for a strong team.

The result of teamwork is that as members form a team around a certain goal and collaborate as team players, they exert more power than can be achieved by individuals. Differences in mindset, ability, and personality mix together, generating great power as they complement each other and sometimes compete against each other. As the team moves towards the goal, the team members need to grow in order for the team to become stronger. While working for the team, team members need to develop, both for themselves and for the team. I think that in a good team, there is a cycle in which the leader encourages (helps) individual growth while giving the team proper direction, and through this growth, the individuals make the team stronger. The important thing is that personal growth is not achieved by individuals alone, but in how the team, especially the leader, is involved and how he or she teaches. That’s what the leader has to consider as a team player.

It’s great to grow, but the process is often painful. The barriers to overcome are sometimes large. You have to move forward steadily and know where you are going, making sure that the direction in which to develop yourself is right. At that time, I think that the important thing is feedback from others, especially the leader. This feedback is more often painful than positive (and in my case mostly painful). Sometimes you are praised (though perhaps rarely), and sometimes you have to accept tough opinions. People who give feedback may not want to give that feedback. You do not want to say what you do not want to hear. But feedback is necessary. For the growth of your subordinates, and thus for the growth of the team, it’s necessary to delegate work to subordinates. Developing employees in this way and delegating work is the basis for “Do not fear failure; experience builds success. Create opportunities for employees.”

When I have received feedback, I always feel that my bosses have put a lot of thought into it. They understand me and have given me an objective and subjective opinion, and many opportunities to “take notice.” As a result, I have been able to change my actions, using each one as an opportunity to grow.

I hope you have a team that demonstrates better teamwork through achieving a cycle in which leaders give effective feedback, team members accept it positively, individuals grow, and the team gets stronger!

Nate Maeda
Director of Business Planning
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.