Introduction\n\nTwo heads are better than one.\n\nNo man is an island.\n\nThere's no 'I' in team.\n\nThere are numerous sayings out there which demonstrate that we are better and can achieve more by working together rather than individually. With many people pulling together towards a shared objective, mankind has been able to do incredible things, including erect the pyramids which have lasted for many years, build railways and roads which have allowed us to travel incredible distances on land, construct boats and ships to ferry us across waters and aircraft to fly us around the world. We have machines, computers, networks, the internet (one huge network) which connect us and allow us to communicate in ways never before possible. None of this would've been possible without teams of fantastic people working diligently to turn (sometimes crazy) ideas into an amazing reality. We all ultimately benefit when we band together and use our complimentary strengths to our advantage.\n\nLooking Good vs Being Good\n\nIn order for us to work effectively within a team, strong leadership and communication is key. By great leaders ensuring that all parties know what is expected of them at all times everyone concerned can pull their weight effectively and produce those fantastic outcomes. By respecting the people involved as they have clearly been hired for a reason (hopefully because of their ability to perform the role), great teams can extract the very best output from their people by playing to their strengths and assisting with any weaknesses (as no-one is perfect and expecting different is farcical). Most importantly, by appreciating and listening to the diversity of thought and experiences that people possess and develop when performing their roles, the team can make adjustments and optimizations to established plans to ensure that the work being undertaken is always as optimal as possible.\n\nTeam of great people banding together to make magic happen\n\nWithout soliciting regular, honest (sometimes excruciating) feedback by those close to the action and the magic, the team coordinators can become terribly out of touch which is NOT what any successful team wants. If problems are unknown, issues are glossed over and potential improvements swept under the rug, then how can a project ultimately be successful? Unfortunately, time and again I've seen people and organisations go this route, normally with the intention of 'looking good'. You may have heard of another saying that my mother used to tell me as a child:\n\nA stitch in time saves nine.\n\nThe issue is that when feedback isn't regular, and project kinks are ignored early on, these same quirks have a REALLY nasty habit of turning into fully fledged crises which can completely derail progress altogether. If those close to the action were just listened to from the start, if there was a mechanism to quickly evaluate improvement suggestions and turn them into actions, then the crises could have been avoided and everything would have been delivered to time and budget. However, to the self-serving (at any level for that matter), this might undermine how the perception of them and they may even have key performance indicators and reporting metrics that dis-incentivise admitting to issues and thus allowing for improvements to be made. Can't get that promotion if you don't look like you are CRUSHING IT at all times. A textbook example of where office-politics can ruin things, and it is normally incredibly damaging and frustrating to everyone one else concerned especially those who care about the overall success of the team.\n\nYou'll only understand the ABSOLUTE FRUSTRATION of such scenarios when you are involved with such politics (both in your own organisation and dealing with others), and I'm sure that most reading this will have experienced some element of what I've just written about. When people act in such a manner, ignore issues, eschew feedback all for the purpose of self-promotion, they have taken the 'me' letters out of the word 'team' and sentenced everyone else to watch their hard work be hindered. My advice is to (if you are self-aware) try not to behave in such a manner, and if you work with people like this, try and talk to them and if that doesn't work, maybe find a new team if you can. Life isn't worth the stress that this kind of behaviour brings.\n\nWoman upset seeing her hard work fall apart because of self-serving people on her team\n\nWhen Feedback Mechanisms are Used as "Feedback" Mechanisms\n\nFor me, even more frustrating than people who go out of their to avoid issues are those who actually implement" such feedback mechanisms, invite team members to provide their input and then cherry pick 🍒 the results in a way that AGAIN extracts the 'me' out of the word 'team'. Throughout my life so far (including school lol), I've seen all sorts of behaviour occur with these mechanisms from TONNES of different companies all around me, including:\n\nOnly acknowledging the positive aspects and using them to pat certain people on their back\n\nFlat out ignoring or complete REFUSAL to acknowledge anything that isn't positive\n\n"I/We hear you" marketing/corporate speak with ZERO follow up\n\n"I/We hear you" marketing/corporate speak followed by a complete reframing of issues raised into the official positive message\n\nStating the problem isn't a problem despite not being anywhere near the issue nor being in a place to comment\n\nBegrudgingly (delay tactics aplenty) fix the issue after making life EXTREMELY difficult for the person who raised the problem\n\nThe issue with all of these actions is that none of them allow for any problems to actually be solved, rather they provide the perfect ecosystem for seedling issues to grow huge problem oak trees and scupper hard teamwork further on down the line. My "favourite" from the above list has to be the use of the "I/We hear you" followed by your issue being spun into an opportunity to speak about the official, positive position. Not only is the person and/or organisation undermining, dismissing, belittling and ultimately ignoring the problem(s) that have been raised, they are also telling you (in the nicest possible way) that you are totally wrong 😂. It's like someone sticking their middle finger up at you and hiding it behind a picture of a smiley face 😁. Sometimes they don't even link it to something that vaguely answers your query because they really can't, which is actually really funny when it isn't your issue!\n\nLaughing at being told solutions unrelated to the problem(s) you raise mean that there is nothing to worry about\n\nHave you come across the concept of "Lessons Learned" for continuous improvement within your organisation or outside? This is an official forum (could be on projects or an organisation Ask Me Anything with numerous stakeholder groups) where people get together and use experience from day-to-day working to suggest ways working practices can be improved for the future. These ideas are then expanded, deployed and ultimately integrated widely to great effect. This is a fantastic, OFFICIAL opportunity to optimize, continually learn, and if the same problems crop up, teams can CRUSH THEM with their new and improved processes! Fantastic! However, I've seen instances from ALL SORTS OF organisations where it becomes a formality, nothing gets progressed and ultimately becomes a "Lessons Suggested" session with no tangible purpose. Processes don't actually change, and the same problems hurt us again in the future. What a shame, and it is such a missed opportunity 😮!\n\nThe Ultimate Damage of Not Listening\n\nAs mentioned before, not listening to the people involved in making the magic happen will most likely lead to the failure of what you are all working so hard to achieve. If you aren't sewing up those mini holes early, they can organically expand into huge gaping craters that will be impossible to mend in time. If ignoring such issues is to "look good", then those covering things up will look awful should everything come crashing down so it actually works against your self-serving best interests 🤔! You'd better get that promotion quick to not be held accountable (I joke but...). If problems are ignored to save costs, I'm sure those little cumulative costs will be insignificant compared to the MASSIVE costs of a highly-inefficient, failing, low-morale, frustrating endeavor. If you actually fix the issues as they arise (life does this to us), then you'll actually look more like a BOSS 😎 who gets things done.\n\nI've also mentioned the frustration that comes when "hearing" people but not actually listening to them. This can cause so many extra issues borne from the anguish of knowing about problems that won't be fixed. It can lower morale, kill drive, make people worry, keep staff up at night, be hugely stressful and ultimately make the team wonder "what is the point of it all"? On that question, what actually is the point? If you know that a problem now (where a fix will never come) is going to cause huge issues later on down the line, of course there will be further questions. To avoid all of this, use rolling meetings and the official "Lessons Learned" session to properly capture all issues as they arise and ACTUALLY put together strategies to implement the suggestions. This will give your team less problems to worry about at night and enable them to sleep well 😴.\n\nKitten sleeping knowing that the problems raised will be dealt with\n\nFinally, not properly listening to those who bring legitimate concerns will SEVERELY damage your relationship with them. At the beginning, they will likely be very motivated to provide proper feedback for the overall benefit of the team, but the more you ignore, belittle, reframe as positive and outright dismiss concerns, the less likely they will volunteer any issues whatsoever. Once this happens, it is EXTREMELY difficult to regain the honest environment that has been lost, and as problems become worse (remember the little issues have a tendency to grow) this level of feedback actually needs to INCREASE! In an ecosystem where the increasing severity of problems is being met with decreasing feedback, it isn't long before the fireworks, finger-pointing and blame games start, so why go through all of that nonsense? Instead, take the time to ACTUALLY listen to the concerns (i.e. don't "hear" them), process these issues formally, provide regular, detailed progress updates and expediently FIX THE PROBLEMS RAISED. Build this method of continuous improvement into your day-to-day processes and ACT! You'll prevent problems from growing, stop the team from becoming frustrated and you'll maintain an excellent relationship enabling you to succeed. Why does this even need to be written 🤷♀️🤷♂️?!\n\nThere Should be an 'Us' in Team 😅\n\nWhen it comes to making incredible things happen, a team of people containing diverse skills, insights and experiences can prove vital. On top of the attributes that they bring to the table, it is vital that they are regularly consulted regarding any arising issues so that fixes can be made which ensure that tasks can run optimally. For the purposes of ego and external perception, it can be tempting to only look at the positives and dismiss issues using creative tactics, but I believe that this will ultimately hurt everyone involved, aside from the self-serving individuals if they bounce to their promotions at the right time. Anyone who sticks around will likely watch as tasks fail, get increasingly frustrated and demoralized, leading to important relationships breaking down. Instead, if we tackle our problems HEAD ON, and regularly identify and fix them as part of our day-to-day processes, we would benefit from a fantastic environment full of opportunities to make the magic happen 🧙♂️!\n\nTake care and all the best. Si.