Perhaps the most often mentioned requirement of domestic service jobs, everywhere, "must be a team player" has become so ingrained into our language and job descriptions, that we hardly ever think about what a team really, um, well... is. I believe that what all these line item mentions for "team player" really are, though, is the employer mostly wants someone kinda friendly, someone who generally gets along well with others, and someone who smiles and frequently says things like please and thank you. All good, I say, yet it's a far toss from the discussions of teams, so my proposal would be for these advertisers to either change the wording in their ads to plainly state what's really being asked for, or take the time to study and enact that which is required for a real team to develop on their estate.
I was fortunate to have as required reading, J. Richard Hackman's Leading Teams, while at University of San Francisco, and doubly so after I learned it'd made the reading list of Stanford Professor Bob Sutton, whose own writings I've enjoyed over the years; the book is widely regarded both in and outside of academia as the best treatise on all things teams. Teams, as we discover in quick order through Hackman's research and expertise (and sometimes through our own experience and expertise, given enough time and opportunity) are purposefully built entities which are then maintained and given mindful support to the highest order - not simply a bunch of folks who are randomly thrown together in a room (or on an estate) along with some wishful thinking and the occasional, well-meant battle cry of "let's go, team!".
|If the Ferarri California-T was human, it would be a team.|
No doubt that real teams actually require engaging in very focused and hard work, with many misconceptions about teams keeping the good ones from ever being formed in the first place, and team leadership often coming from some quite unlikely places and circumstances - all worth giving credit to and all worth studying to better understand and put forth, where we may understand, alas, the oft-misunderstood and wholly underrated... team deviant.
And, like the Ferarri California-T, the real thing is neither built overnight nor on the fly, yet only through the relentless dedication to being... the real thing. Real team perfection also comes from some unlikely places, as Hackman noted in his Harvard Business Review interview:
Although I always recommend people buy the real book instead of just test-driving the summary, please read HBR's excellent interview with Hackman shortly after his publication, one which brings out the high points and, hopefully, encourages you to fully read and benefit from the book, itself, and to then build your very own - real team.
And by including, of course... your very own...team deviant!