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How to Strengthen Team Commitment

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Commit to getting it right. It is one thing to be able to do the work. It is another to be willing to commit to do your absolute best. You must CARE whether the goal or mission is accomplished. A member of a musical group must be in perfect synchronization with the group. Your teammates must also perceive that you care about achieving the goal or mission. Your teammates must care.

Every member of every team has a certain degree of commitment to the team effort. Whether you work in government, health care, or in another business, you have probably seen wide variations in the level of commitment that people show at work. Some people come to work every day and put forth a very conscientious effort. They are enthusiastic. They have a positive attitude about what they are doing. They constantly try to improve what they are doing. They help others. They do not wait to be told to do something that needs to be done.

Try to encourage your teammates who lack sufficient commitment. Not every team member comes to work with a high level of commitment to the team or mission. There are overachievers and slackers, and everything in between. For many reasons, a teammate will lack commitment to the team. Some teammates:

  1. Have issues at home that interfere with a full effort at work.
  2. Are working at several jobs.
  3. Feel they are underpaid.
  4. Lack maturity, and think that they will not be held accountable for a half-hearted effort.
  5. Have done their best in the past, but were discouraged by co-workers.
  6. Made suggestions that were rejected without being seriously considered.

Committed teammates can be relied upon to do what they say they will do. You can count on them.  If you tell a teammate that you will finish something by a certain date, you have made a commitment. Do everything in your power to fulfill the commitment. If it appears that you will not be able to meet a commitment, give advance warning. No one likes sudden, unpleasant surprises.

To strengthen commitment to your team:

  1. Overachieve—under-promise, and over-deliver.
  2. Keep yourself up-to-date on the progress of the project or other effort.
  3. Do the best job you can possibly do at all times.
  4. Be willing to put in extra time when necessary—short of burnout.
  5. Encourage teammates who seem to lack commitment.
  6. Give advance warning when it appears that you may not be able to meet a commitment.

Thomas Charles Belanger is the author of Teamwork in Ten Days: Building Successful Teams in the Arts, Sports, Business, and Government, available at and Barnes and Noble.

©2012, Thomas Charles Belanger

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