Teamwork makes the dreamwork! This is more true than ever, especially when our work becomes increasingly cross-functional. Working effectively as a team is a highly-regarded skill because it’s transferable and applicable to every industry. No doubt, some of us definitely enjoy working alone because of the predictability and control. But in reality, we can’t run away from teamwork. Colleagues from different expertise often have to come together to solve organisational problems effectively. Worst of all, we don’t get to choose who we get to work with! So how do we make the best of what we have?
Create A Clear Purpose
Slow-moving projects that take an eternity to complete? Projects without a direction? I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of such projects! Projects often start with vigour but wane overtime. The goal seems too far away and no one feels motivated to continue the project. Begin with an end in mind before you embark on a project. Sit down as a team to brainstorm and outline the purpose, direction and goal of the project. Having a sense of purpose will drive and motivate the team to work together to achieve the goal.
Set Ground Rules
We all have that one person who free-rides on other’s efforts. Or that one person who is always late for meetings and asking for deadline extensions. Don’t be that person! Teamwork breaks down when other colleagues feel that there is a disproportionate amount of effort put into the project (I mean, who likes doing a one-man show in a team?) Don’t feel like a wet blanket for setting ground rules. Setting expectations for work etiquette and contribution to the project keeps everyone on track and ensures that the workload is evenly distributed.
Excellent communication lies in the heart of teamwork. Keep communication channels open. Everyone should be able to speak their mind without fear. By the end of the meeting, everyone should be on the same page and clear on their roles and next steps. If need be, ask questions to clarify your doubts. Remember to practise active listening! Communication is not just talking about your needs and ideas but understanding others as well.
What happens when you put two people with very different work attitudes and perspectives? The truth is, differences are bound to happen and it often leads to frustration, disagreements and even conflict. But how we respond to it determines the outcome. Embrace differences and treat them as strengths and learning points. Alternative perspectives can help you make better decisions and avoid the groupthink phenomenon. Rather than tuning out or getting frustrated at the differences, respect them and try to reach a compromise.
Did you know that employees tend to work happier and better when their efforts are recognised? And no, it doesn’t have to be in the form of a bonus or additional time off. Even a simple thank you or a meal can make colleagues feel appreciated. We are quick to blame when things go wrong, yet we seldom give thanks when things are going well. Showing gratitude can improve the working relationship within teams, enhancing teamwork.
Working effectively as a team can help to lighten your workload and gain knowledge of the different functions within your organisation. You don’t need the most competent team members to make your dream work. With your team members having the right mindset and attitude, your projects will become a reality!