Mateship. I’ve just finished Peter Fiztsimmons, “Tobruk”. Out numbered and under equipped, the Aussies held Tobruk for 8 months. At the time, it was considered nearly impossible for the Australian forces to hold Tobruk for two months against the far superior forces of Rommel.

At the end of the siege, as generals and journalists tried to come up with the answer as to how the feat was achieved, the victory was attributed to Australian “mateship”.

The Australian forces were cohesive as no other fighting force. The looked out for each other. They risked for each other. The fought for each other. They sacrificed for each other. Mateship. Aussies as a group would do anything for their fellow “mates”.

We’re in a recession and it’s a whopper. Teamwork isn’t enough to get you through it. Mateship might be.

Let’s get clear on the difference: Teamwork=We all do our parts cooperatively  Mateship=I’ll do my part and anything I can for any of my mates 

If your business is working on teamwork, that’s good. But mateship is better. It takes quality leadership to build mateship. If your business doesn’t have leaders capable of building mateship, get new leaders.

Too often, when things get tough, businesses get rid of the workers instead of the poor managers. If you must cut, start at the highest possible level and cut any VP, manager or supervisor incapable of building mateship. If you are on a board of directors and your CEO can’t inspire mateship, you need a new CEO.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
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