Teachers call it Copying but we call it Teamwork!

September 3, 2013

I was driving one evening across the streets of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city because I had no plans for the weekend and no place to go in particular. I enjoy these kind of drives because most of my inspirations come at my “Me” time.

Gwagwalada in Abuja

Am sure some of you will be surprised, asking whether I left the cattle on their own to cause damage at some farms; or begin to wonder how comes ‘Yar Fulani a Turai was driving when in fact she supposed to be in the bushes parading or milking cow. So before you go about thinking that I have abandoned the responsibilities of the cattle and am now cruising in town, let me confess, I do not own a single cow. I am a typical poor Fulani woman who lost touch with her identity. Most of my kind call me “Kado” because I lost touch with my culture and my tradition. Though it pains me sometimes but I am glad I did transform from ‘Yar Fulani me nono (the street hawker selling milk) to ‘Yar Fulani a Turai (the modern day Fulani).

So back to the story, I was telling you, you need to understand that despite this transformation, I still cannot run away from reality, and that is why even though I had nowhere to go, I just couldn’t sit at home.

You really need to understand the Fulanis to be able to have a picture of why I just can’t stay indoors and rest when indeed I should instead resort to moving from one neighborhood to another; this time in the city not in the bush.

The Fulani’s are always on the move; migrating from one area to another for their cattle to graze. I should be used to this life too, but I do not have a choice; am born and brought up in the city; educated and so should appear different from my own.

Moving around town has been almost a routine for me especially when bored during the weekends or festive season when majority of the people have traveled home to celebrate with their loved ones. I hardly travel during such times because of my tight schedule; and like a conspiracy, it gets tighter during such times. More so, traveling to spend a day or two and come back is of no use considering the large chain of relations I have, so I resort to traveling when I have more days to spend so I can enjoy every bit of it.

So as the vehicle moved on the street, so my mind became occupied with thoughts, but something caught my eyes! A divided attention you may call it; I wouldn’t mind.

“Who built all these beautiful houses?” I asked myself because that was what my eyes saw, and like searching for an answer to the question; I hit the brakes and parked by the roadside to have a clear view of the area.

Abuja is one of the biggest cities in the world that developed so quick in quite a few years since its existence. It’s got all that a civilized city ought to have; maybe!

Team work

I was able to see not far from where I parked; a site under construction. The bricklayers and laborers on the site all stood in a circle, taking instructions from the site Engineer. So it’s a teamwork that made such beautiful structures! I said to myself.

Oh yes, despite the fact that the houses do not belong to them, but they were able to keep their differences and work as a team in order to bring out such a beautiful structure.


Oh yes, it’s team work!

I have always believe in working with others as a team, because together; we achieve a lot. Besides, there is always a unique result when working together to achieve the same goal. Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you frown but it all ends there with the team. Oh, I love team work! Perhaps reasons why I believes so much in what Helen Keller said about team work. She said; “alone we can do so little; but together we can do so much”

Though am not a basketball fan, but Phil Jackson’s thought; “the strength of the team is each individual member and the strength of each member is the team”.

Coming back to real issues that are happening now; how many are out there willing to work with you as much as you want to work with them in order to achieve one common goal? Many will prefer to work alone no matter the stress, no matter the time they take to accomplish the task and no matter the money they may invest in. The idea of working as a team is to my understanding, an equal distribution of responsibility in order to achieve one aim. But why do people prefer doing it alone than doing it together?

This brings up the issue of Trust and Loyalty.



Many a times you want to work with others with the view to achieve an aim; but the fear of lack of trust hinders such an effort. What I believe is, the team itself should be a creation out of trust, just as Patrick Lencioni said; “remember teamwork begins by building trust, and the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

Yes agreed the fear of being vulnerable in so many instances is responsible for people’s attitude of holding back when they can indeed reach out in full to support the team. The case becomes worst especially if one has encountered a disappointment working as a team. But Patrick further said; “Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal.”

Why do you think he said that? To my own understanding, agreeing to come together as a team requires more than just a physical appearance. You have to be willing to give out your trust and to accept that of others. Trust and be someone to be Trusted!



Another key thing to note in a team work is loyalty towards achieving the aim. So many people fail to display their loyalty for the success of the goal, or some of the group members may see someone’s effort as not quite enough. Really, without much loyalty, the realization of the goal will if at all possible be a difficult one. There is a saying by a Psychologist Rensis Likert that; “the greater the loyalty of a group towards the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group, and the greater the probability that the group will achieve its goals.”

One thing to also note is that, despite the weaknesses that may arise in a teamwork, remember that you are in it to help the weak stay strong. Keep your goal in focus and encourage your team mates in a good way. Do not be too quick to judge your team mate’s action as being insincere, incapable, or something along that line, because you all have different ways of seeing the same thing and your ability to see things differently is what brought you together so that you can apply both views and come up with a good result.

Communicate! Talk! Ask! Don’t just assume.

Let me share with you something really inspiring; even though I can’t really remember where I read it from, perhaps from one of those motivational books that I love reading.

It says; “As a team, my opponent will never see my weaknesses. He sees only my strength, never my fears but only my goals as they unfold before them. I am not afraid that my team will see my faults, because with them I can overcome my faults, with them I am fearless, with them I have hope and dreams.”

Inspiring isn’t it? I was moved the first time I read it; I had to go back over and over to read it again and again. I then scribbled it down, and it has become a reference guide.

Coming together as a team makes each team member stronger, just as Chris Bradford said; “Only by binding together as a single force will we remain strong and unconquerable.”  Teamwork is the secret that make common people achieve an uncommon result and in “we” there comes the power and the strength. So together lets stand, together we fall, together we win, and winners take all.

My last word is Henry Ford’s thought; “Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress and Working together is a success.”



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