Get More Done With Teamwork
When people work together, sharing their talents and ideas, their combined efforts accomplish more than the same number of people working individually.
As a team member, you share the energy of your teammates, the excitement of a shared mission, and the celebration of completing a successful project. Being part of a team, however, has responsibilities as well, because every member plays an important part in the team’s success.
“There are a lot of little things you, as a team member, can do to inspire teamwork. They don’t take much time, but they do require some effort and positive intent,” says Kristin Arnold, author of Team Basics: Practical Strategies for Team Success.
Arnold recommends doing the following things that say to your teammates, “I am going to be a good team player.”
To win the trust of your teammates, come to meetings well-prepared. A lot of your work isn’t actually done in the team environment. You may need to do work on your own and then bring it to your team meeting.
So, don’t wait until the last minute to get your share done. Instead, allow extra time to go over it and make any corrections or improvements before any team meeting.
Know your strengths
Volunteer to do what you do best. It’s the varied talents of its members that make a team successful. For example, if you know you can speak well before a group, offer to do the team presentation. Whatever you’re good at, offering to do those things will demonstrate your capabilities, as well as benefit the team.
Ask for help
“Asking for help isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing,” says Arnold. “Many times, people avoid asking for help because they don’t want to look bad to their teammates. However, asking for help is not a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of maturity.”
Watch your air time
“The currency of teams is Air Time, i.e., talking time. While it’s important to have the courage to share your ideas, you also want to balance that with listening to what others are saying,” warns Arnold.
Therefore, if you have a tendency to talk at length, be more concise, and if you tend to be shy, make an extra effort to share your ideas.
Assume positive intent
If other team members upset you, it’s best to assume they don’t mean to. After you calm down, find a quiet time to talk directly with the person about the situation.
Learn to communicate
Communication is the foundation of a successful team. Many times simply avoiding bad communication habits can improve team relationships. Here are three habits to adopt:
Don’t be a know-it-all. Keep in mind that in a team, every person has a valid perspective and contribution to make.
Don’t gossip. Talking about someone behind his or her back is gossip, and it’s very damaging to team unity. So, bite your tongue and stop yourself when you’re tempted to gossip.
Don’t complain. Whining creates a negative atmosphere and gives you a reputation as a complainer. However, don’t avoid problems, either. Instead, come up with possible solutions and have the courage to discuss them in a positive manner.
“By being prepared and on time, by sharing your talents and asking for help when you need it, and by practicing positive communication habits, you’ll be a valued team player, your team will get more done, and you’ll also have more fun,” says Arnold.