All I Really Needed to Know About Teamwork I Learned from Harry Potter
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling features hundreds of unique characters, many whom form teams to either support or hinder Harry. Teamwork strategies from the Harry Potter series also apply to Muggle (non-magic folk) business dealings.
Identify and use individual strengths.
Harry picks his team based on their complementary strengths.
Harry knows that his strengths include inspiring others, selflessness, and sheer determination. However, he’s not the best plan maker and his knowledge of the wizarding world is limited. But Harry knows that his friend Hermione Granger is incredibly skilled and clever, so she can be the one to develop plans with all of the finite details. And Harry’s other best friend, Ron Weasley, grew up in the wizarding world, so he has all the information that Harry lacks.
Avoid a weak team: seek out what each individual does best, and use it to the team’s advantage. That employee who’s always five minutes late might also be the best public speaker in your office; the employee who doesn’t say more than five words a day might write the best copy; and the employee who does crosswords in meetings probably has a batch of fresh ideas.
The key to a successful team is not having the best, but the best for your project.
Build a corporate identity.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hogwarts students come together to learn defensive spells under Harry’s tutelage. After a few short months, they become the most proficient students in these spells. This force goes on to assist Harry in battle. Every time that they emerge victorious, there is a huge group feeling of gratification.
When a team works toward a single, common goal, morale increases. Everyone has stake in the outcome, and once it’s reached, the whole group experiences a sense of accomplishment. Coworkers earn each other’s trust and build relationships with each other. This creates a happy equilibrium in the office, and happy people are much more productive than those who are not. More productivity means more profit – you see where I’m going with this.
Don’t go it alone!
The skills possessed by Harry’s friends were critical in killing Voldemort. Hermione’s detail-oriented personality made sure that the team was fully prepared for months of Thoreau-esque camping, while Ron’s memory of basilisk fangs ensured a protagonist victory. Each of the eight relics that housed Voldemort’s soul was killed by different characters – talk about excellent teamwork!
The Death Eaters failed because their teamwork was lacking.
Teams are important because you can’t do everything by yourself. Great teamwork yields efficiency, a reduction of risk, and a higher quality of output. Why did the Death Eaters fail? Their teamwork was lacking. There were always power struggles within the ranks, Death Eaters didn’t respect each other, and nobody could approach Voldemort with questions.
When you think of teamwork, think of Harry. If it wasn’t for his friends, he would’ve died a dozen times over. Or he’d at least still be standing next to a giant chessboard trying to figure out a winning move.
Are there any other teamwork takeaways from Harry Potter? Have you ever been on a team like Harry’s? Or have you had a teamwork experience like the Death Eaters?
Image credit to Scholastic’s HP Press Kit.