Unless you’re a lighthouse keeper (is that still an occupation?) or are currently castaway on a deserted island, you work with other people. Even if you’re an individual contributor (fancy talk for don’t have anyone reporting to you), you most likely have to engage with others to get work done. It’s rare to have a job that doesn’t require some measure of teamwork. It’s also rare to find a person who doesn’t have a teamwork horror story. Let’s face it. Working together can be hard work.
A person I know (who shall remain anonymous) recently remarked, “I’d love my team if it weren’t for the people on it.” Yikes. I think what he meant was that he struggles to get along with some of the unique personalities on the team. Not an unusual story, and I could share that sentiment to some extent. What I have to remember when I’m faced with team struggles is that I’m one of those people – those unique personalities that can be a real pain in the behind. And I like to think that I also bring some particular qualities, talents and skills that help the team be better. Teams are comprised of human beings who bring strengths and flaws into the team equation. (That includes me and you.)
This means that to have a good team (and we hope you strive for a GREAT one), leaders and team members must be intentional. Team functioning requires ongoing dialogue about goals, roles and ways of working together. Great teamwork doesn’t mean you’ll be best friends with your teammates. It means you’ll be courteous, honest and open. You’ll disagree civilly, and if you’re very lucky, this will happen pretty frequently, as you share diverse perspectives and wrestle with important issues.
Acknowledging each other’s humanity and ongoing communication are the fundamental building blocks of great teams, and perhaps even a happy life! While the goal of teamwork isn’t your personal joy, you will be far less likely to kick the dog at the end of the day if you are part of a high-functioning team.
You’re welcome, Fido.
Want to chat about your team (or your dog)? Send us a message.
Photo from Dollar Photo Club.