Building Teamwork

By J.D. McHenry

Successful supervisors build teamwork. Cooperation makes work easier and gets more done. Supervisors should continually look for cooperation, both from their people on the job and from their peers. There are many ways to promote cooperation and bring about good employee performance. Successful supervisors do it by building a close rapport with people, keeping them informed, helping them with their problems and showing appreciation for good work. Supervisors must also be aware of the roadblocks to getting cooperation.

A major pitfall is attitude. Effective supervisors have the right attitude toward their people and the job. They are also able to influence the attitudes of their staff. Cooperation from people on the job must be augmented with cooperation from peers in order to maximize productivity. Communication plays a big part in getting along with other supervisors in solving problems and reaching goals.

The type of management that leads by example has been shown to have many benefits, especially in building teamwork. The culture of an excellent teamwork environment must start with management. Supervisors must set examples of good attitude and relationships.


Surveys of people on the job reveal that liking the supervisor is the most frequent reason for liking the job. This explains why a person may do a good job for one supervisor and not for another.

Workers can give you many reasons why they prefer one supervisor to another and why they respect one and not another. If you want to be in the select group, you should think about some of the characteristics that people like to see in their supervisor.

Getting along with peers is no different than liking your supervisor. We all must like each other in order to enhance teamwork. The same techniques are used with all people involved.

Today’s technicians are good judges of their leaders. Technicians hope that their supervisors show more concern for them than their output. Workers want their supervisors to be friends, not bosses who threaten them or make demands.

Technicians also hope that their supervisors are dedicated planners and organizers. They should guide, train, investigate problems and improve working conditions.

Supervisors should show them how to do a job correctly when they’ve done it wrong. They should not yell at people who make mistakes nor should they demand obedience.

Supervisors should have trust and confidence that their people can do the work. Supervisors should give their people authority and responsibility as well as freedom in how to do a job.

Good leaders praise and compliment people for their accomplishments. They also boost morale and promote teamwork. Supervisors should act and talk positively.

Although being friendly with your people can gain you their cooperation on the job, you could be in for trouble if you extend the friendliness off the job. A supervisor must be careful in social dealings with employees. Too much socializing can create on-the-job problems that can affect the supervisor’s control and hurt effectiveness. Always keep some distance with employees.


Good supervision is the art of getting others to do what you want, when you want it and how you want it. This response doesn’t come automatically to a supervisor. You’ve got to build up your relations with people and earn their cooperation. Here are some ways to promote and kindle their feelings to the point where they will cooperate with you willingly:

• Stress team effort when you communicate. Use the word “we” frequently.

• Make an effort to reward people who do more than you ask of them.

• Set practical and realistic goals for your people. Discuss goals to make sure they are understood and accepted.

• Praise maximally and criticize minimally; never embarrass a person in front of others.

• Supervise by persuasion rather than by force or pressure.

• Help people when they need it. Respond to their desires and needs.

• Be honest about problems and issues. Show that you have people’s interests at heart.

• Give people a chance to express their opinions. Let them participate in problem solving and decision making.

• Sponsor and promote training and development programs.

• Demonstrate by what you say and do. Demonstrate that you consider loyalty and integrity important virtues.


People who always speak positively or complimentarily about other people find it easy to get along well with company people. The temptation to criticize or blame someone at your level to promote yourself is often hard to resist, but you’re better off if you absolutely avoid it. Employees don’t get ahead by tearing others down.

We all have different viewpoints and different standards. Disparaging remarks about a person’s dress, manner or behavior gain nothing and only make you appear biased and prejudiced. The fact that you see things differently is no reason for you to condemn or ridicule people who look and act differently than you.

Saying a good word for another person when you have the opportunity shows that you recognize the capabilities and attitudes of other people, that you are not self-centered and that you give credit when it is due. You’ll find that it also gains you cooperation from the person you compliment.


Any supervisor who attempts to run a department without working with other supervisors is likely to get in trouble. Teamwork is necessary to solve today’s personnel and labor problems, keep up with technology and control costs. All these things must be managed properly if a company is to be profitable and grow.

Effective teamwork in the department and among other departments of the company requires good communication among supervisors and a willingness to cooperate in working toward goals. You can help to develop cooperation with your peers by improving your communication and by adopting a spirit of understanding. Here are ways of doing this:

• Consider how your actions affect the operation of other departments. Make decisions that will benefit rather than hinder them.

• Recognize that other supervisors have goals to meet and commitments to honor. Realize they have problems just as you do. Treat them as partners rather than opponents. Offer to help whenever you have an opportunity.

• Do everything you can to eliminate friction between your people and other supervisors’ people. Promote friendly relations and, if necessary, compromise on differences in order to achieve compatibility.

• Explain and give reasons when you ask another supervisor to do something for you. Point out benefits from going along with your request.

• Distinguish the difference between cooperation and interference when it comes to the performance and behavior of other supervisors’ people. Try to always deal with supervisors rather than their people when you want help.

J.D. McHenry is the president of Global Jet Services. He has been involved in numerous aviation maintenance and flight operation programs for more than 31 years. His background includes aircraft manufacturer, corporate flight operations, FAR 91 & 135 operations, aircraft management, repair stations, and fixed base operation. He holds and A&P, IA and Doctorate of Business Management. Global Jet Services goal is to lead the way in aviation maintenance training standards. Global Jet Services and FlightSafety International are business partners offering the “Shared Resources” program. For more information, visit

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