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teamwork photoOften, workplace “fit” is cited as a reason for termination of employment, either from an employee herself or from a manager. “It just wasn’t a good fit.” Just as often, this explanation doesn’t really get at the heart of why the business relationship ends. It’s more than fit, usually; the employee wasn’t a good “fit” because she consistently missed deadlines or wasn’t professional; the leadership of the company wasn’t a good “fit” for the employee because it was dysfunctional or uncommunicative. Mentioning “fit” becomes the kind way to extricate oneself from a bad situation without burning bridges.

But in reality, how important is workplace fit to the overall success of a team or a company? The first step in determining fit is having a strong sense of identity and personal effectiveness (both for employee and for the company leadership). Do you have a clear vision for your work? Do you understand your personal and/or company mission? Are you able to honestly assess strengths and weaknesses? Understanding these attributes is key because they require some self-reflection and critical awareness. Only by understanding your own function in the company can you determine whether you are a good “fit” for your position.

It’s possible that too much emphasis might be put on finding the right “fit” between a manager and a team. Embracing diversity of approach to problem solving and being able to recognize the strengths of a different opinion or behavioral style are benefits that come along with unlikely pairings. Think of Abraham Lincoln as the subject of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals; it was by surrounding himself with people who would challenge him that Lincoln became a stronger leader.

But even though diverse teams are important to a company’s productivity, healthy relationships remain a central crux of long-term success. As noted in a study of Australian soccer teams by Jeff Borland and Jeanette Ngaire Lye, “coach-team matches are important in explaining team success. Even the best teams need the right coach to translate their performance into organizational success.” Beyond simple personality differences, all parties on the team need to be self-aware, committed to a common mission, and respectful of fellow employees and leaders to operate effectively. If those qualities are present, the rest can be developed. But if those qualities aren’t there? Maybe it’s just not a good “fit.”

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.

Photo by Skley via Flickr

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