Getting along with others can be difficult at times, even ‘painful’ depending on what you are trying to do. We all have different methods for getting things done, we all work at different speeds, and WILL have different philosophies about what needs to be done. That’s all part of dealing with people.
Working as a team, whether it is a family unit, a sports team, a business organization, or a country makes us all much more productive. As a coherent, working team with would have an opportunity to use various specialties and skills. We can hold each other accountable, and provide feedback on what is wrong and what is right. We can learn from each other and make our work better.
There are of course many ways in which teamwork makes life and work easier and more rewarding. I have found that the following have the greatest impact.
Frees Us Up to Get Better Work Done More Often
Working alone on a project is great, you get to produce something amazing, and you get to do it how you want to get it done. However, when you are working as part of a team you might not have those luxuries. But there are a lot more benefits.
Working on a team can be frustrating at first, you might ‘Butt Heads’ when trying to figure out just who is going to do what and how. After this period of conflict, and after you figure your stuff out, the team will discover that it can accomplish a lot more than it could as individuals.
Successful teams produce more because they can tap into that magic that creates success, collective resources! Working on a project by yourself means that you only have YOUR SKILLS, and YOUR KNOWLEDGE to get the job done. Working on a team you get the advantage of; multiple skill bases, multiple viewpoints, and multiple hands in the mix to get the job done faster. Sure, that means that there might be more of a chance for mistakes, but when you have more eyes on the project, your more likely to catch them before they become serious.
There are three questions that your group must ask itself if it is going to get better work done, and more often;
- Am I On the Team for Myself, or Am I In It For The Team?
It is important that everyone on the team realize that they are a ‘Team’. It is fine to know that you are the best at what you do and that you might, in fact, be indispensable to the team. But if that means that distracts you from the goal of the team to further your own ends (Glory, Recognition, Money…), then you should not be there.
Primadonnas can be great! They can be entertaining, they can even serve as a ‘Rallying Point’ for the team. But they often can serve as a distraction, especially when they start serving their own egos and end goals. It is up to the team leaders to ‘reign them in’ and make sure that the ‘primadonna’ is contributing to and serving the team and not themselves.
2. Do I Know the Goal of The Team?
Team leaders should make sure that everyone on the team knows the ‘end goal’ for the team. It is kind of difficult to accomplish a task, or reach a goal, without knowing the; Why? What? Where? When? And How? Sure, you might not need to know every little detail (you might not want to know), but you should be aware of the pertinent information. Be aware of; why is this goal important? What is the ‘end goal’ of the team? Where is my position on the team? When will this goal be reached? How are we going to get to the goal?
If you are unaware of the goal of the team, then you might want to ask and make yourself aware or leave the team.
3. Am I A Good Fit For The Team? Is The Team Benefiting From My Being There?
Ok, so this one is two questions, but they contribute to a single outcome. Production.
We all enjoy working with people with similar; working styles, attitudes and motivations. But do these working styles work together and is the team benefiting from them. If these working styles mesh and produce excellent work…. great! If they do not, then it is up to you and your team’s leadership to figure out if there is another position on the team that you might work better in. You might work better on a different team, and you must accept that for the good of the team.
Builds Morale and Gives Us Confidence
Human beings, for the most part, are very social creatures. We take great comfort in being part of a group, whether it is a small group (team or a family) or a large group. And creates confidence in us when we can contribute to the betterment of that group or team. (Bushak, 2015) It builds self-esteem knowing that we have done something that will have a lasting impact on an organization or group.
It also builds morale in us individually and as a group knowing that we have the group’s support. When we know that someone has ‘our back’ we feel more secure with being creative, going outside of our ‘comfort zone’. In other words, innovating!
People who feel secure and valued are more likely to contribute their best work and more of it.
Makes Learning Easier and Happen More Often
Learning is one of the things that we do most as human beings. We are busy learning every waking moment of every day, whether we realize it or not. Our brains are constantly taking in information, updating information, and using that information. When do we learn the most? When we are working/playing/creating with others!
Would you rather have things told too you, or would you rather discuss and debate them with your teammates? Discussing topics with friends and coworkers make them more pliable and easier to understand for us and the group.
Learning with a team is often more successful because:
- Constant Reinforcement
Learning in a team environment means that you can discuss and debate the facts with your friends and colleagues. This ‘repetition’ provides constant reinforcement of those facts in your memory, which means they are more likely to ‘stick’.
- Feedback Works
When we are learning, we need some kind of feedback. We need the ability to assess ourselves and the direction our learning is going. Groups and teams provide that feedback. Sure, we could assess our own work and learning direction, but that is usually unreliable subjective self-feedback. Our teams/groups can provide that objective feedback on our progress that we need.
Successful teams depend on leadership. It could be someone who just happens to take on the mantle of ‘Leader’, or maybe someone who is decided will be the ‘Leader’ or the group could provide mutual direction amongst itself. Leadership is critical.
Leadership should be there to guide and direct talent, not ‘badger’ and micromanage. Micromanagers usually elicit self-doubt and frustration from groups. This is usually because the members of the group know what they are supposed to be doing, but the leadership keeps putting their ‘two-cents’ in any way.
Team leaders should be collaborative, willing to listen to, work with and learn from team members. This should go for the entire team, you never know what you are going to learn from your team, so be open to anything and everything!
I am interested in starting a conversation about teamwork and its benefits. Please feel free to comment!
Bushak, L. (2015, June 16). Joining A Group Boosts Confidence And Self-Esteem Even More Than Having Friends. Retrieved from Medical Daily: http://www.medicaldaily.com/joining-group-boosts-confidence-and-self-esteem-even-more-having-friends-338534