TECH, BUSINESS AND CAREER INSIGHTS

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars

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What comes to mind when you think of the word, “team?” It can mean a few different things. One of the best formal definitions is, “to come together to achieve a common goal.” Whether you work on a team at work or are an individual contributor, building strong relationships with coworkers is important for maintaining a positive and efficient workplace environment.

Every member of the team plays a vital role in either adding-to or taking-away from your company’s culture. High-performing teams understand the need to work together in order to remain happy and successful at their job.

Unfortunately, not all employees are on the same page. In fact, 86 percent of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures and disgruntled company culture. As you work to become a real team player, keep the following key things in mind.  

FIRST, UNDERSTAND YOURSELF
Before you can work on a team, you have to evaluate your skillset. Identifying your strengths is the easy (and fun) part, but figuring out your weaknesses may be trickier. However, when you understand your own weaknesses, you can adequately prepare for any issues that arise from them. To do so, think about the ways in which you could improve and set tangible goals for this improvement.

For instance, if you know you aren’t the best with deadlines, let your team members know and ask them to hold you accountable. Letting your teammates know the areas where you struggle will help them feel more comfortable coming to you with suggestions and solutions, helping minimize frustrations for the whole team. 

If you’re unsure of your strengths and weaknesses in the workplace, take a moment to review this list of 31 core competencies. Take the time to write down the areas you feel confident in, as well as those areas of weakness and just how you can improve. In doing so, you’ll learn a little more about yourself and be able to communicate your needs to coworkers and team members.  

NEXT, UNDERSTAND YOUR TEAMMATES
Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, the next step is to understand you’re teammate’s strengths and weaknesses. While one coworker may be a great verbal communicator, another colleague could be much more introverted and struggle with verbal communication, but excel with written communication.

What’s important to remember is that every team member has value to offer the group. Any differences that may exist can actually improve the final product produced. In order to get to a point where strengths and weaknesses align for the better, it is necessary that everyone fully understands one another.

In addition, aligning on the project at hand and one another’s responsibilities is a necessary step in ensuring success in a team project. When you first receive an assignment, take a moment to discuss what tasks need to be completed and, based upon your previous conversation of strengths and weaknesses, which team member would be best at getting the job done.

When doing so, take into consideration what boundaries need to be set on any work that may crossover. Statistics show that 97 percent of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.

LAST (BUT NOT LEAST!) UNDERSTAND YOUR BOUNDARIES
Once you’ve been in a group long enough (whether in a formal setting or friendly setting) you are bound to grow more comfortable with the other members. Getting to this point in relationships is a great way to produce quality work, but it also can blur the boundary between friends and coworkers.

When you arrive at this point, it may be best to have a conversation with yourself (and your teammates) on what behaviors are appropriate when working on a project. While a coworker may love to chat about their relationship at lunch, they may not feel comfortable with the same topic during work hours. It is important to remain professional and understand your teammate’s boundaries.

If you’re wondering how exactly you can set boundaries that ensure success, check out this Inc. article. Gaining the confidence to set those boundaries at work can help improve your happiness, and ultimately improve the satisfaction of the entire group.

Whether you’re part of a formal team at work or just learning how to balance workplace relationships, these tips can greatly benefit everyone’s success. Collaboration is vital in producing quality work and maintaining positive professional relationships. Most importantly, keep in mind that through a little effort and understanding, we can all come to enjoy team projects.

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