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Teamwork is fundamental in the work environment. Successful business operations and productivity rely heavily on teamwork, regardless of the size of the company. Many would agree that humans are more evolved than others in the animal kingdom, due to their advanced cognitive abilities. But many animals that work together, use exceptional organizational structures, traits, and behaviours that help them to succeed and thrive in their environments. Looking at how some of these animals work together can help us learn and appreciate what teamwork really means.

A Pride of Lions

Lions are an important example of teamwork in the animal kingdom. The group takes priority when it comes to hunting and feeding time. To take down prey such as zebras, wildebeests, and buffalos, teamwork is necessary within the group. This offers important lessons in the workplace, as working to deadlines and on large projects often requires input and collaboration with others within the company. Objectives become far more achievable when each person co-operates at full strength.

A Pack of Wolves

Wolves demonstrate an incredibly advanced social structure, with clear roles for each wolf in the pack. They are remarkable communicators, using every method of communication at their disposal - from their formidable howl to eye movements that would hardly be visible to humans. Research has suggested that wolves are careful observers and pay close attention to all kinds of subtle communication, within the pack and with their environment. Such effective communication is imperative when it comes to working in teams. Taking the time to understand everyone, asking clear questions, showing by example, etc are all beneficial ways to improve communication within the team.

A Herd of Elephants

Elephants are among the most intelligent animals, and they have exceptional memory abilities. Elephant groups are matriarchal, therefore the eldest female elephant in the group typically serves as the leader. Elephants can get into fights when they are not being social, especially if there is no leadership present. Memory and experience are used by these matriarchal elephants to direct and maintain the herd's survival, including dispute resolution. When battling over scarce resources like food or elephants that are frightening towns, they will employ dominance and hierarchies to resolve disputes. Establishing a scalar chain in the workplace that can address internal problems is essential. For instance, elevating problems to the next person up the chain can assist resolve them if workers cannot come to an agreement. Additionally, having effective leadership in our organisations promotes a sense of allyship within the workforce.

True organisational evolution cannot occur without cooperation. To transform your business plans from excellent to great, you need cohesive, collaborative, and coordinated teams.

- Robin Olivier (ActionCURVE NZ)

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