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Two important aspects of group communication—especially in the business environment—are teamwork and leadership. You will work in a team and at some point may be called on to lead. You may emerge to that role as the group recognizes your specific skill set in relation to the task, or you may be appointed to a position of responsibility for yourself and others. Your communication skills will be your foundation for success as a member and as a leader. Listen and seek to understand both the task and your group members as you become involved with the new effort. Have confidence in yourself and inspire the trust of others. Know that leading and following are both integral aspects of effective teamwork.
Teamwork is a compound word, combining team and work. Teams are a form of group normally dedicated to production or problem solving. That leaves us with the work. This is where our previous example on problem solving can serve us well.
Each member of the team has skills, talents, experience, and education. Each is expected to contribute. Work is the activity, and while it may be fun or engaging, it also requires effort and commitment, as there is a schedule for production with individual and group responsibilities.
Each member must fulfill his or her own obligations for the team to succeed, and the team, like a chain, is only as strong as its weakest member. In this context we don’t measure strength or weakness at the gym, but in terms of productivity.
While leadership and teamwork are different virtues, they are strongly related in business, sports, the military and volunteerism. It is easy to state that leaders lead, while teams follow leaders to reach goals and objectives.
Yet, great teams have superior leaders as members. To paraphrase a common definition of solid leadership, “Leaders are people that other people want to follow.” However, most outstanding leaders are also equally accomplished team players.