“One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say, that individuality counts but teamwork dynamites.” – Jin Kwon
Teamwork makes the dream work. That’s what they say. Working well as a team can indeed yield amazing, sometimes miraculous results. However, like all powerful and effective things, they are not always easy to handle. The ‘team’ is a tricky beast to master! Teamwork depends upon the skills of the people that make up the group, and whether or not they feel supported enough to bring their best selves to the table.
There are many academic, administrative and pragmatic ways to make a group of people work effectively together. That being said, it is only when considering more holistic and mindful approaches that communication, compromise and, ultimately, success flourish. By making mindful choices during teamwork situations, you will enjoy a heightened level of productivity and wellbeing both as a group and as an individual. Here are some of the mindful choices the individual can make, whether leading the group or simply participating as part of the team, in order to achieve this…
1. Stick to the Rules You Set
You should never end up in a situation where your team think there is one rule for them and another for you. We all have expectations of others in a team. This is as true if you are leading a team as is if you are a junior cog in the machine. However, if you are in a position of power, the leader that steers the ship, ensure that you apply the same rules and expectations upon yourself. Hierarchy is important in order to create structure and productivity, yes. But equality, as much as it is possible, is extremely important on both a social and professional level. There always needs to be a decision-maker, however, a sense of equality ensures that no detail or concern is left unaired.
2. Seeing Other People’s Attributes
If you are in a position to facilitate operations and debates within a group (or even if you are not) it is important to recognise the merits of all of those within that group. Discover and utilise their individual skills and be mindful of things they may find more difficult. This consideration not only makes the goals of the job or project more achievable through efficient use of skills, but it also helps to make individuals feel more self-confident. This will, in turn, make them more likely to invest energy in the work.
3. Clarity and Economy in Communication
When we talk about economic content, we mean this; do not use more words than you require to convey an idea, and do not clutter your idea-sharing with more information than is really needed. I have seen many a person fall into the trap of muddying a productive day with excess anecdotal content or giving away too much. This can often result in unwanted tangents and precious time wasted. Think before you speak. What is the best way to phrase your contribution in order to get the maximum quality out of your team and to keep them feeling energised and motivated?
4. Conscious Facilitation
In order to foster mindful teamwork, each person must feel that they are being heard and that they are making meaningful contributions to the situation. Therefore, it is essential that everyone is heard and utilised. This is easier to do if you are in a position of authority, but it can also be helped along by simply recognising when others need space to participate, and pulling yourself back a little in order to allow them to them fill that space.
Straightforwardness in communication is not only more efficient but it eliminates unnecessary subtext. In a professional environment, clarity is important for both a clear sense of the facts and for everybody to know where each individual is coming from. Try your best to be honest, economic and clear with the words and thoughts that you share.
By Chris Thomson
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