Can you play well with others? Prioritizing Team Work

November 26, 2012

If you don't invest enough time and effort in playing as a team, you won't achieve the best results or build strong relationships in the office. The same will be true with clients, partners, et al., and that's a lost opportunity to grow with the company.

In working by yourself, you can climb a hill and be out of breath. In working effectively as a team, you can scale a mountain without breaking a sweat. Teamwork makes a huge difference. You learn so much by example (tasks, interpersonal skills, etc.), particularly if you're all under pressure to meet a deadline. There are serious lessons learned when it's crunch time, but you've got to keep your eye on the shared goal, and be flexible when collaborating.

Team building sometimes strengthens weak team members and sometimes separates the weak from the strong. The important part to understand is that we all have strengths and weaknesses. We don’t always need to focus on strengthening our weaknesses; sometimes it’s best to strengthen our strengths. Let the person who is strong perform exceptionally well in his or her area of expertise while their weaknesses are passed to another team member who possesses those strengths.

Each team member within their respective scope of work has a world of opportunity to expand, grow and let their creative juices flow, so stop being afraid of losing your identity when working with a team. It’s an opportunity to become a better individual! Ask a Seal Team member or Green Beret if they feel they lost their identity by working with a team. Just don’t stand too close when you ask!

One’s home is the perfect place to learn how to manage and get along with other people in the office. After all, at the end of the day, we can leave the office and go home to our families, but we can’t leave our families. We have to learn how to listen, understand opposing points of view, gain willful cooperation, earn respect and show compassion.

Take every opportunity you can to shut up. After 40 years in enterprise HR, I can confirm that some people are much less focused on listening than they are on thinking about what they are going to say when it's their turn. Listening (truly listening) is critical to leadership and being a good team player. Once mastered at home, these skills can be applied in the workplace.

Mercy Mildener
Public Relations and Marketing Consultant

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