Why Mick’s the most important person in your team

Who’s the most important person in your team?

There’s no doubt in my mind what the answer is.

I can even name him.

It’s Mick.

And if he’s not being taken on a regular basis, you’ve got some work to do on the team-building front.

I realise it’s not exactly scientific – as scientific, in fact, as my theory that tea-making rituals can be a key litmus test of team strength – but I believe it to be true.

Nothing gladdens my heart – or, indeed, my ears – so much as seeing colleagues poking fun at each other.

Because nothing says we’re comfortable around each other, that we know about each other and care about each other, like the willingness to rib and be ribbed.

Like the shared tea-making, the shared mickey-taking creates and reflects a sense of belonging, of emotional security, and of acceptance.

So what are the other ingredients of good team spirit?

Here are a few more random thoughts, all involving – in a bizarre Sesame Street-style scenario – the letter S:

  • size and setting: ideally, small enough to fit around one bank of desks so that everyone can see each other
  • support: people who look out for each other in both their professional and personal lives, taking on colleagues’ work to help them through a crisis, and taking an interest in their families and hobbies
  • sharing: a willingness to pass on expertise and handy short-cuts, tips and tricks
  • solidarity: the forging of a common cause – to produce the best website, beat rivals to stories, or simply outsmart the spin doctors
  • smiling: and preferably, laughing. We live in a mad world, and a day when we haven’t laughed as a team is a day utterly and completely wasted
  • space: I came across the fantastic phrase supported autonomy the other day.  It encapsulates the way that I would always want to run my working life. And I don’t think I’m unusual in that. Good teams – and their leaders – allow members to think for themselves and to have control of their working days, within boundaries of trust and accountability.

Anyway, that’s enough words beginning with S.

Someone’s just walked in that I need to take the mick out of.


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