Everyone works differently; some enjoy working in a group while others like to work alone. There are times in the workplace where a team effort is required. When you work as a team it does not mean that your individuality is lost in going along to get along, rather it means taking your individual skills and talents and merging them with the other many skills and talents of your team mates.
Employees are often thrust into team work but a great way to begin before actually doing the project would be to allow each person to write their name and list what they feel are their best skills. When everyone has listed their skills the manager should share what the project is and what management wants to happen as well as what they define as a successful completion of the project. Then have the employees pick out the skills that will be beneficial to successfully completing the project. Let the team lay out the steps necessary to complete the project placing the skills needed at each step as well as completion time for each step. Once this is laid out the team will be able to proceed and the employees have buy-in to the process.
Once the manager has empowered the team it is important as a manager not to hover over the team. You can have a member of the team report periodically about the progress. This gives the team a sense of ownership and pride.
Teams, when working together, have to communicate clearly with one another, they have to be able to give constructive feedback to each other, they have to appreciate one another’s differences not criticizing someone’s skills rather understanding how they differ in what they do and how they process what is being done. The team has to be strong enough to hold each other accountable in completing tasks. The team also has to set rules in place that the team has to follow in how they work together, in completing tasks, when to report about trouble spots and other conflicts that can arise.
There is a wonderful animated movie, Kung-Fu Panda which shows the differences in teams. The Furious Five had a new kung-fu master enter the group, Po. Some thought Po was a buffoon, clumsy, and out of place but once Po received training from Master Shifu he became more accepted by the Five. They worked together to destroy Tai Lung. Each of the five were different in how they looked and how they fought; Tigress was the strongest and most courageous; Viper had precision and displayed kindness and compassion; Monkey was playful yet enthusiastic and was the one who liked PO; Mantis was the smallest but was quite fast; and Crane was patient and the counselor and nurturer for the team. You will find these characters in your teams and the difference between success and failure is understanding and accepting the gifts of those on your team. If there is just one who does not put forth a strong work ethic it can diminish the entire team.
Working together as a team is not always easy but it is worthwhile to learn how to work as a team player,besides it looks good on your resume.
Team success is the ultimate goal!