The old adage of two heads being better than one still holds true, as long as there isn't the excessive butting of heads taking place. When it comes to the business world, this couldn't possibly be more true. In the business arena, cohesive teams create fresh, new ideas. Let us have a look at a path to success and improve your teamwork skills within 13 minutes.
1. The Ability to Listen
If a team of people in any group are going to work well together, it is important to listen to one another's ideas. Too often in a business setting, you have a group of people simply waiting for their turn to speak, not paying one iota of attention to the persons on their left or right. So it is a good teamwork skill to have the ability to listen
In order to assure that everyone is being listened to and considered, have the group speak and expand on each individual's idea(s) once they have finished their speech.
2. Check Your Ego
This isn't saying abandon your ego all together, because that isn't healthy. But leaving your ego at the door temporarily is a very important team work skill. The reason this is so essential is because there is always someone better than you at something, no matter how brilliant you are.
For example, if you have a room full of distinguished biologists, physicists, chemists, and psychiatrists, as soon as the discussion falls out of their area of expertise, they defer to the individual with the most knowledge on whichever subject is being discussed. In any teamwork environment, this is a must.
By critique, I mean constructive criticism. Be able to give others constructive criticism and be able to listen to others critique your ideas and work. There shouldn't be any offense taken to constructive criticism. You all want to succeed, and this is a vital step in doing so.
If one of your teammates or co-workers pitches an idea that you like, acknowledge that it is a great idea, and then offer thoughts in which you think it could be improved. It's that simple. If they disagree with your assessment? That's okay too.
When I was in military boot-camp, there were a number of chores we had to have done by the end of the day. Clothes folded, wall lockers arranged, floors spotless, boots nice and shiny, weapons cleaned, loose strings clipped off of our uniforms. We quickly discovered that we were all good at specific tasks. So, what we did was delegate each of these specific tasks to teams of 4-5 men who were better at them than the rest. The end result was of higher quality and it was done more efficiently. We became a well-oiled machine.
This same mentality must be applied to teamwork. Delegate roles to those who do them best.
5. Show Respect
The truth of the matter is that not everyone is going to like each other all the time. There might even be people in your group that you really can't stand. Guess what? That doesn't matter. You are there to conjure up ideas and complete tasks. Show equal respect to each and every person, and work to your best ability.
If you and another person happen to be paired up and can't stand each other, you can still put that aside for a couple of hours, treat each other civilly, and complete the tasks at hand. You may even overcome the dislike toward one another.
6. Be Helpful
This is simple.If one of your teammates does not understand an idea, discussion, or task that is being completed, take the necessary time to explain it to them and work with them. There are no weak links when everyone helps one another. Some take longer to learn than others, but that doesn't mean that they are of less intelligence. In fact, it has been shown that some slow learners are much better at specific skills once they learn them.
If at a company meeting someone asks a question because they don't understand, don't frown at them. Just answer the questions patiently and concisely.
7. Question One Another
"Question everything" is an intellectual endeavor everyone should partake in, and this applies to the workplace, classroom, or anywhere else where there are ideas coming together.
If someone brings up a topic of discussion and a solution to this topic, question them. Respectfully question, don't badger. Rather, ask them how it will work, why it will work over the long-run, and how everyone else can implement the idea.
Everyone has to pitch in and carry their own weight.Quite frankly, some folks prefer to work alone rather than in a team environment. They're introverted, shy, nervous, or have bad anxiety. It is important to bring these people out of their shells. Oftentimes the quietest person in the room is the most reflective and does the most in-depth thinking.
Have the entire team encourage shy people to engage in the topics of discussion. Don't demand it, but make them realize that you really want to hear their ideas.
9. Rational Debate
Rational group debate is very important. There can't be any biases, and it is even better if there are data to back each argument. But these ideas have to be fact-based. If you are proven wrong, that's a good thing as it gives you new ideas and a new foundation on which to build. Ideas built on falsities are the equivalent to a house of cards waiting to get blown over.
Bad ideas are bad for teams. Spirited, friendly, rational debate is where facts come forward, ideas are born, and quality rises to the top.
10. Set The Right Environment
Try to make the space in which your team is assembled as comfortable, relaxing, and inviting as possible. This means comfortable chairs, coffee, drinks, pastries, and other refreshments. When people feel taken care, calm, and relaxed, their ideas flow more freely. If one is a team leader, the environment is of utmost importance. You do not want your team to be tense and with frayed nerves.
When I was in military boot camp, we spent 90% of the time stressed and being chewed out by our training instructors. But, when it came to the classroom and learning, that could not have been any farther from the truth. The instructors were charming, funny, and would even gently wake us up when we nodded off from exhaustion.
Remember, no one wants to create ideas and come up with plans of action in an environment where their heads are throbbing and necks feel like piano wire.
There we have it. 10 of the most essential teamwork skills one can possess. Utilize these techniques and your chances of success will sky-rocket.