In school, one of the most dreaded things a professor can mutter is “group project.” But the reality is, even after our college days are over, life is still full of group projects, and teamwork is an uncompromisable skill to possess. Whether in an office setting or playing a sport, I’ve learned that teamwork applies everywhere, and there are a few key ideas that make working as a team smooth sailing… most of the time. ; )
1. Never underestimate the power of communication.
It's important to let your team know where your head is at any moment. If you’re unsure of something, it’s better to ask for clarity than to be stuck in the dark. The teams that are the most successful have great communication channels—whether it be face-to-face, email, a Facebook group, or some combination of these. Do what works best for the dynamic of the team.
2. Consider your team, your family.
Often you see the people you work and play with more than your own family. Because of all the time we spend together, it’s important to recognize when another team member is having an off day or struggling with a task. Just as you would jump in to help a family member, doing the same thing for your team will make everyone happier. The saying “You are only as strong as your weakest player” proves true more times than not. Helping each other will keep your team strong and performing at its best.
3. Make time for team bonding.
Earlier this year, The Image Shoppe’s Creative Director Karen Tracey outlined the importance of play in the work environment, and the positive impact that quality bonding time can have for a group of teammates. We begin to understand and relate to one another better when we deviate some time outside of our usual environment to spend with our teammates. It can be as simple as going out to lunch together or attending a community event that can make a significant difference in team compatibility.
4. Challenge each other and learn together.
Teams who learn and grow together (and from one another) stay together. Cooperative learning is essential for the growth of a team as a whole, and those individuals who make up the team. Never stop challenging each other to do better or learn new skills.
No matter how much damage control we implement into a project, things don’t always go as planned. Mistakes happen, and errors are a reality. Before you let your emotions get the best of you, take a moment for yourself. Find a quiet place to take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, and repeat until you’re ready to jump back in with your team.
And most importantly, don’t take your team for granted. These are your people and they’re here to help you be better and do better. Remember that!