“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organisational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
Teamwork makes the dream work. I know, it is a cliché, but clichés are generally born from an initial truth. 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 control, to master. Teamwork depends upon the skills and virtues of the individuals that make up the group, and their commitment to nurturing those techniques.
There are many academic, administrative and pragmatic ways to make a group of people work effectively together. However, it is only when we implement more holistic and human influences into our group work that communication, compromise and, ultimately, success become really effective and mutual. By making mindful choices during teamwork tasks and projects, you will feel enjoy a new level of productivity and wellbeing both as a group and as an individual. Here are some of the mindful choices the individual can make in order to achieve this…
This may seem obvious and a little like I am teaching you to, as the saying goes, ‘suck eggs’. However, you might be surprised at how easy it is to stop listening properly. To really engage in another person and what they are saying it takes focus and concentration. Sometimes, when we are tired waiting to make our own points, we tend to go from listening to simply ‘hearing’. Every person’s contribution should be valid.Each opinion worthy of equal attention from all of the other people on the team.
2. Recognising Strengths of Others
If you are in a position to facilitate operations and debates within a group, and even if you are not, it serves well to recognise the virtues of all of those within that group. 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, it also emboldens and encourages the individuals within the group.
3. Playing by Your Own Rules
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 in which you may lay down a precedent, ensure that you apply the same rules and expectations upon yourself. Hierarchy is important in order to create structure and productivity, agreed. However, 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 encourages much more open and frank communication.
4. Balance and Equality: Facilitation
As you may have gathered so far, equality is key. In order to foster mindful teamwork each person must feel that they are being heard and making meaningful contributions. 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 contribute and to pull back a little in order to let 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.
6. Economic Content
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 required. I have seen many a person fall into the trap of muddying a productive day with excess anecdotal content or giving away too much information to the detriment of the feelings of other people on the team. Think before you speak. What is the best way to phrase your contribution in order to get maximum quality out of your team and to give them the most positive energy?
By Chris Thomson
The individual’s contribution to teamwork is always improved when they are making time for self care. Be mindful of your own happiness and comfort in the workplace: Self Care At Work
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