There's so much written about 'Millenials' and some of it deals with why they struggle with teamwork.
Millennials have grown up with a highly addictive barrier – technology, smartphones, and social media. These tend to cut off their desire, or willingness, to engage in ‘face time’ with other people which can mean that they may struggle in a team environment where developing relationships with others, and working face to face, are keys to team success.
The reality of life in teams is that it is often hard and demands time, commitment and effort. It’s also about personal sacrifice and giving up one's own agenda in favour of what is right for the team. You can’t reach the peak of Everest until you've climbed the mountain, and many don’t want to climb the mountain. They want instant gratification so they want to just be at the peak right now.
On my daily walk on the Pauatahanui Inlet this morning I came across a group of Millenials (they weren't all that close to me but I guess they were mostly Millenials) for whom technology, smartphones. and social media had been put firmly on hold.
They were a group of Waka Ama paddlers. I think there were seven waka although it was hard to tell from the shore as they were all bunched together. They were out on the water and competing hard, urged on by a couple of coaches in canoes. They lined up in the middle of the inlet and started to race, rounded a few buoys and returned to the starting line. The competition was fierce and they worked incredibly hard. Judging by the comments and shouts that echoed across the water, their coaches were well pleased with their performance.
What teamwork! What commitment to practise. I couldn't find out if there were some events coming up but if there are, the teams will definitely be fighting fit. It showed me that teamwork among Millennials is alive and well and that there are times when social media can be left behind - where it belongs - and teamwork can be top of mind.
And, as I rounded a bend on Te Ara Piko and they were lost to sight, the early morning peace of the environment returned and I could hear the water, the fish jumping, the sound of jogging feet, panting dogs, the melody of birdsong, and a single Tui making the most of the last of the blossoms in the Kowhai tree.
What an amazing spectacle for a Sunday morning. I was treated to a sporting performance that was breathtaking, with shouts of encouragement both between members of each team and from the coaches in their canoes on the sideline. Despite being some distance away across the water, it was deafening, and exhilerating! I watched the athletes at the end of their race as they rested their tired bodies and shared the experience with each other. Their thoughts of teamwork had counted. Each one of them had supported the others in their waka. They were too fully occupied to spare a thought for 'sharing' the experience with their many friends on social media. That could come later. For now, they were wonderfully healthy, fit teenagers giving every ounce of effort and energy for the sake of their team.
Who says that Millennials struggle with teamwork? Not all of them, and certainly not all the time, that's for sure.