Cooperation is defined as the action or process of working together to the same end.
Do teams work together towards the same goal all the time? Of course not. The downside of lack of corporation is loss of time, revenue and of course esteem.
In the 2004 Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece, Team (Basketball) USA had stars like Lebron James, Allen Iversen, Tim Duncan, D.Wade etc. and yet they were outshot, outplayed and out of the men’s basketball gold for only the third time in Olympic history. So, what exactly happened? How could the outright favorites settle for a bronze medal?
The team was not in a cooperative mood. What happened to that team happens a lot in the workplace.
Here are four behaviors that characterize a lack of cooperation on Teams
Avoidance: Signs of avoidance are; People not coming to meetings, not responding to requests, not engaging with each other, response time for emails and whatsapps.
Responsiveness: When people are in a cooperative relationship, they respond to what John Gottman calls relational bids. A relational bid is anything in which you ask the other person for attention or you ask the other person to engage with you. So if I would say to you, “Hey, look out of that window,” and you would actually turn your head and do it, it means that you have a connection with me and you’re responding to me.
If I ask you, “Hey, can you help me solve this problem?” And you actually engage with me, it means that you’re in an open and cooperative relationship. How many relational bids have you honoured or violated?
Competitive Bids: One of the things that really destroys cooperation in teams is if people are in competition, there’s two ways we can check for this.
One is, are people in competition in the sense of, “Mine is bigger than yours.” Or, “Am I better than you?” And people actually competing with each other for status or position.
The second thing I check for in these competitive bids are people actually competing for care, we say. So that means if I say, “Oh, I’m needier than you are,” in a team, “I need more help. The manager needs to pay more attention to me.” And there are a couple of people in that team doing that kind of competition for needs, then we probably know cooperation is going to be very, very difficult.
Gamey-ness: “A game is a non-solving pattern of behaviour.” If I see repetitive conversations about something that in the end does not get solved, I know people are in a game. So, for example, at home let’s say you have a conversation with your wife about who is going to pick up the kids from school and you say, “Hey, it’s your turn.” And your wife responds, “No, I did that yesterday.”
And you say, “Hey, I cooked today.” And your wife goes, “No, no, no, no, but I groomed the kids last week,” or something. In the end, you say, “If you really love me, you’d pick up the kids. News flash: you’re in a game. The real conversation is quite different from the conversation you’re having and you’re actually competing for something.
How many of these do you have on your team? Wouldn’t now be a great time to change?