As children, we are taught the importance of learning how to work well with others. This lesson then evolves from the playground to the classroom, and follows us throughout our lives. Recently, this emphasis on team-based learning and work has increased significantly. As I progressed through my college years, I became aware of this switch, and became accustomed to collaborating with my peers on various projects. Although this appears to some as a lesson best reserved for the classroom, many businesses have seen the benefits of individuals within a company working cooperatively as a team.
We have all heard the phrase “teamwork makes the dream work” and as cliché as this sounds, there is an element of truth behind it. Working in a team does not mean that individual thought and creativity will be stifled. Rather, team-based work takes individual performance, and places it in an environment that fosters creativity and forces growth. Working in a team exposes individuals to ideas and perceptions different than their own, which opens up more possibilities for growth within the company.
So what are some tips to successful teamwork within your company? The first would be clarity. Although a team is comprised of a group of individuals, it will not function unless these individuals work in unity. There needs to be a clear structure within the team, and the purpose of the group’s work should be clearly outlined. This way, everyone is aware of what needs to be accomplished, and everyone can dedicate the time necessary to achieve the established goal.
There also needs also needs to be a level of respect and understanding throughout the course of the work. It is easy to become impatient and irritable when you are hours into working, and conversations seem to be running in circles. However, it is crucial to be patient and to maintain a level of professionalism even when it seems impossible. A positive work space correlates to success within a company; if the environment is hostile, the work will reflect that.
Even though everyone is working in a team, it is important that group members still take pride in their individual work. Working in a team is not an excuse to take a break, and do the bare minimum. Regardless of the project, or the number of individuals in the group, everyone’s work is important. The team is only as strong as its weakest member, and if everyone is contributing to the best of their ability, the process will run much more smoothly.
As your company grows, you can find yourself working with people from all different regions, cultures, and backgrounds. Here at Kuvio Creative, our team is comprised of individuals from all over the world. Although this unique team structure poses its challenges at times, the diversity within the group gives our team a unique personality and perspective. Our team is a representation of the clients we serve. Learning to collaborate successfully with each other has served as a strength and translates to our ability to help our clients.
Finally, if you are passionate about a certain aspect of the groups work, speak up and vocalize your desired contribution. It is better to be up front about your capabilities and wants early on; being passive aggressive will create a negative atmosphere for the team. The other members of the team will be thankful that you spoke up, and completed tasks that were better suited to your qualifications. Be open with your team. Creating open communication channels will result in more success in the long run.
Although working with your peers as an adult is different then how it was at the playground, the fundamental lessons are the same. A team should be built on a collective understanding of what the team is trying to accomplish, and a mutual respect for all members of the team. Once the group finds their strength as one singular unit, this strength will be apparent in the outcome of the work.
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