You’re not alone – when you are part of a team – though, sometimes, you may want to be.
Teamwork is a popular concept. During job interviews, the employer tries to figure out if you play nice with others. When you are in school, you work in groups. Even at home, it’s easier to get things done when you work together.
What is teamwork? Simply, it’s working in collaboration with a group of people towards the same end goal. It is easier to work as a team if you keep in mind the purpose of the team – typically the end goal.
So, why don’t people like to work in teams? You might hear groans when people are asked to work on a team. It may be you had a bad experience working with a group of people in the past. Before you do any work, you need to be on the same page. To make this a more pleasant experience, verify there is a clear goal and expectations. What role will each person play? How will you communicate? Are there individual tasks? It is generally easier to break things down into smaller, workable tasks. Are there deadlines? Is there a leader or is everyone equally responsible? Strictly speaking, teams do not have a leader in the group – but it helps to have a moderator. A moderator’s role is to keep everyone on task and on time. They do not offer more opinions or solutions than anyone else in the group. Each person should voice where they feel their expertise and experience will be the most help to the end goal. It is when you combine talent and action of a group of people in an effective and efficient manner that makes for a good team experience.
My team! Oh, my team. My Outreach Services team works awesome together. We meet monthly to review what happened throughout the month, anything new that came up, what we could change or keep, and what is coming up the following month. We have checklists for our daily events to verify we are on track – since every event is a little different. We also email anything that we need to remember or important enough to communicate. Daily we check in with one another. We have a bond that allows us to voice our opinions and a confidence that we can rely on one another. And, when something happens to one of us, the other can step right in. When all is working well, we play music and have been known to break out in song and the occasional dance.
How do you cope when it’s not all sunshine and roses? Here are few tips that could help:
- Be positive. Ask questions.
- Speak clearly and with intent.
- Clarify the end goal.
- Clarify your role.
- Encourage input.
- Accept ideas and criticism.
- Seek out due dates and brief meetings.
- Socialize. It’s good to learn more about your team so that you can work together knowing each others strengths.
- Don’t gossip. It doesn’t help to talk about one another.
- Don’t take over.
- Don’t drop your workload on others.
- Bring chocolate or fruit to share during your meetings.
- Celebrate your successes.
- If all else fails, speak to someone with authority and ask them to step in to clarify the end goal and get the group back on task.
Face it. No matter what job you take on, you will need to work with people in some capacity. You may never be put in a situation that requires a formal group assignment – but you will need to know how to deal with different types of people and communicate well with them both verbally and in writing.
Below are a few resources and quotes about working in a team.
~I’m here to help
“Because of the rush of human knowledge, because of the digital revolution, I have a voice, and I do not need to scream.” ~Roger Ebert
Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” ~Henry Ford
“None of us is as smart as all of us.” ~Ken Blanchard
“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” ~Steve Jobs
“Don’t persuade, defend, or interrupt. Be curious, be conversational, be real. And listen.” ~Elizabeth Lesser
MBA. 2014. 10 TED Talks Every Team Should Watch. Retrieved from http://www.onlinemba.com/blog/10-ted-talks-every-team-should-watch/
McMullen, Laura. 2014. 8 Ways You’re Telling Your Boss ‘I Don’t Want To Be Here’. Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2014/10/30/8-ways-youre-telling-your-boss-i-dont-want-to-be-here
McNally, Victoria. 2015. 12 Things The Avengers Can Teach You About Teamwork. Retrieved from http://www.mtv.com/news/2143372/avengers-teamwork/