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Tag Archives: teamwork in business

Tap into Team 3

There’s a valuable source of information, assistance, and support you have access to at your office. I’m not talking about the internet, your training manual, or how-to guides. I’m talking about your co-workers.

Your work team can be an incredible asset to you, if you let them. Oftentimes, we either don’t trust others to help us with projects OR we simply don’t know what our co-workers have to offer. This is a shame because a lot of talent ends up going untapped and unutilized. How can you change that? How can you leverage the resources available to you through your team?

Start with these three steps:

STEP ONE:

Get to know your team. Talk with them, listen to them, invite them to share lunch or a cup of coffee. Unless you make an effort to reach out and connect, you’ll never truly know what others have to offer or what their talents are. You also won’t have a strong sense of their weak spots—the areas in which they might need additional assistance.

When you make an effort to get to know your work team, you’ll have a better understanding of how you might all function together. Who is detail-oriented, and who is better at working with the bigger picture? Who is talented at crunching numbers or analyzing data? Who is best at optimizing the customer experience? Who will always meet their deadlines…and who might need a little bit of a push?

Knowing who you’re working with, inside and out, is essential for knowing where to turn when you need a little extra assistance or when you need to assemble a team that is best suited for a specific task.

STEP TWO:

Extend trust and be trustworthy. Trust is a vital component of any successful work team. Sometimes, we take on too much and try to do everything ourselves because we believe that no one else will be able to do the job quite as well as we can. While that may be true, it’s usually a matter of perspective. Others might do a task in a different way than you, but it is not necessarily the wrong approach. By letting others occasionally take the reins, you’re opening the floor to a wider variety of perspectives and methods—and that’s a good thing! As long as everyone understands the big-picture goals, the path to getting there can be flexible.

Trust others to take on projects that are suited to their talents. Trust them to meet deadlines, do excellent work, and bring innovation and creativity to the table. Unless they violate that trust in a major way, have the courage to relinquish some control and be trusting.

On the same token, be trustworthy. Be someone whom others can count on. Your reputation as a reliable worker will be noticed. Even if you don’t think others recognize your steadfastness, they will. Don’t worry. Just keep at it and be a model of trustworthiness.

STEP THREE:

Communicate. If you want something done, ask. If you’re unsure if you—or someone else—is unsuited for a particular task, say something. If you’re pinched for time and need to meet a deadline, ask for help.

Instead of hinting at what you need or want, be direct and open. Keep an open line of communication with others and regularly check in with them about your projects. Along with expressing your needs to others and soliciting their help, you must be willing to return the favor and assist them when needed. You, too, are a resource for others and your talents will be needed from time to time.

Of course, it’s okay to say no to certain tasks or projects that do not fit your areas of expertise or your schedule. Be open about that too!

 

Tap into the skills and resources surrounding you. Your teammates have a lot to offer and you are all part of a network that will work best when everyone’s strengths are utilized. Get to know your co-workers, build trust, and establish an open line of communication.

 

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Team is too similar

When your team is TOO similar. Photo Credit: SoulAction.org

In a recent newsletter, I discussed the steps to take when your team is clashing. This week I’ll address a different problem: What do you do when your team is too similar?

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like much of a problem. You all get along, the work feels easy and natural, etc. But too-similar teams can be just as ineffective as clashing teams. Why?

  • You might lack inspiration
  • Your team might get distracted with friendly chatting or gossip
  • You miss out on a variety of perspectives
  • The end product might be geared toward only one specific type of person

But how do you add a little spice to your team? This may be more complicated than fixing a team that is clashing. The first step to diversify and brighten-up your team is to bring the problem to the forefront. If people aren’t aware there’s an issue (or they know something isn’t working, but can’t figure out why), then they can’t work to solve it.

Secondly, ask for diversity. Reach out to others who you think have a different perspective than your current team’s perspective. Go beyond gender and ethnicity. If your group is quiet and reserved, consider a more outgoing, energetic type. If your group is great at generating ideas, but lacks practical application skills, recruit someone you know who is analytic and process-oriented.

Third, gain inspiration! If adding new and different people to your team isn’t an option, there are a few ways your team can gain inspiration:

  • Create a mind map (If you don’t know the basics, here’s a blog post explaining how mind-mapping works)
  • Conduct surveys and market research (gather outside opinions to bring in new perspectives)
  • Research similar projects and find out how those teams came up with a solution
  • Turn to social media (Post about what your team is working on and ask for feedback)

Fourth: If your team is just a little too friendly, impose restrictions. You might decide to split up the group and work in pairs for a while. Or you might set aside chat time at the beginning of the day (say, half an hour to catch up with everyone), then buckle down and get to work. Sometimes it helps to have a supervisor check on your team from time-to-time in order to motivate everyone to make progress.

If you’re still struggling with how to make your too-similar team click, feel free to contact me for more ideas. Best of luck!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, LICENSED INSIGHTS DISCOVERY PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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