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The power of teamwork

By Chief Master Sgt. Patricia M. Woodham 2nd Mission Support Group superintendent

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What does "teamwork" and being part of a "team" mean to you? To me, teamwork is very important and essential in achieving the most successful outcome. It's demonstrated when multiple people with different skill sets work together toward a common objective. Being part of a team not only provides us a social network, but it gives a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

Being part of a team requires us to get to know each other and that isn't always an easy undertaking or one without conflict; however, that shouldn't stop us from working as a team.

It should come as no surprise that each and every day many of us are overcome by events and can't recall what took place that day due to the volume of our workload. However, if we get to know our teammates better and capitalize on each others' strengths, we will not only divide the task and double our successes; we'll form a more cohesive team and depart that experience knowing more about fellow teammates.

Teamwork is a group task that takes effort from all members involved. Ken Blanchard, an influential leadership author and speaker, put it best when he said, "none of us is as smart as all of us." So, with all that said, just how well do you know your teammates? I understand this question would be easier to answer if only we had more hours in the day, but keep in mind we don't have time for everything, so we have to make time for those things that are important.

I'm in no way implying we don't already have strong teams in place, because we do! Throughout my tenure at Barksdale, many of our wing teammates have been recognized by Air Force, higher headquarters inspectors, and Defense Threat Reduction Agency inspectors for not only their individual accomplishments, but their team accomplishments. In talking with several of these individuals, I recall them openly admitting they didn't do it alone--they confirmed greater success was accomplished through the efforts of the team. It's obvious all members of Team Barksdale work hard every day and contribute to our successful mission accomplishment. While we continue to work hard, I encourage each of you take the time to truly get to know your teammates--both those standing right beside you and those in other squadrons. We have such a diverse wing with so many talented personnel and getting to know each other better will just strengthen Team Barksdale.

The power of teamwork has no limits and the end result is a greater sense of accomplishment and better yet, you have someone to share in the experience. It may be cliché, but I've always heard there's no "I" in "TEAM" and "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link," but the phrase that has always stuck with me is "TEAM means Together Everyone Achieves More." This is so true, but if you still aren't convinced of the positive effects of being part of a team, I'd like for you to take a moment and reflect upon a past experience where you were part of a team. It may be as far back as your high school days when you were part of a sports team or it may be a more recent experience you had while at Airman Leadership School or the NCO Academy, working on a college project, putting together a base event or participating in squadron intramural sporting events. Even when you've played the game of your life, it's the feeling of being part of a team that you remember most. With time, you'll forget the plays, the winning shot, and even the final score, but you'll never forget your teammates--those who stood by you. Within many teams, friendships and bonds are formed that last a lifetime.

I can predict with great certainty that as each of you take the time to know your teammates better and capitalize on each others' strengths, you'll encounter the power of teamwork and the true meaning of being part of a team.