How to work effectively in a team?
All together now…
There are not many jobs that exclude social interactions. One could argue that any work ever
will at some point expect you to interact with others, whether you like it or not. Even a
solitude-based writer, will have to get out there to meet with the publisher or the marketing
assistant, so being able to communicate and work with people around us is a necessity.
Of course, there is a difference between being able to interact with others and effective
cooperation. One is rather intuitive, whereas the other might take some time and practice to
figure out. This is where the space for self-development and growth comes in. With this
article, I will invite you to consider the ways in which you can make your team stronger,
better, and happier while maintaining the professionalism and practice that your workplace
The mutual goal.
First of all, there is no team without a goal in mind. You can gather a group of people to act
out their respective roles at random, but until there is a goal to strive for cooperatively this
group cannot be called a team. It is imperative you understand what it is you’re trying to
achieve. Whether it is a project you’re working on, a hospitality service you provide, or a
monthly ‘targets’ you’re trying to meet, knowing what it is that you’re working towards is
So, take your time initially and precisely state the end goal. It is both practical and inspiring
to have the final destination in mind. With this knowledge, your team will stay driven
throughout the journey, especially when the moments of difficulty come to pass. Moreover,
maintaining clear communication of the milestones along the way will make the experience
easier to bear and more motivating in the long run.
Everyone is different.
It is no mystery that all of us are different on a very complex level. Each of your workmates
has their own story to tell, their own background of experiences, and their own unique
personality. That is why it is so important to recognise the needs of every individual
separately and adjust the delivery of your work accordingly. This is not to say that you
should take someone off the project due to their attitude or way of being, but it will be
useful to consider the best way of utilising their unique skills and approach, which will
enhance their level of self-esteem and improve the work environment. For example, a co-
worker who likes to take risks and challenges will be a better choice for the potentially
stressful task than the one whose levels of resilience are not as high.
So, when assigning tasks and deciding on the roles pay the differences of people in mind.
The most effective teams are those, whose members play to their strengths and
complement each other’s weaknesses.
Communication is key.
To put it bluntly, if there is a misunderstanding, there is a problem. So often, due to our
differences in approach and experiences, we think we know when we don’t, and we think
others understand us when they do not. It is not without a reason that special forces, as well
as contemporary military teams, have a set framework of simple gestures and commands
drilled into their minds by the time, they hit the battlefield. Without this ability to quickly
relay the most important message their likelihood of survival would diminish drastically. And
although your work might not include a life-or-death scenario, using communication
effectively will enhance your team’s ability to face difficulty and resolve the many issues
that otherwise would inflate and compromise the task at hand.
So, organise a meeting and resolve to create a ‘communication inventory’, which will enable
your team to exchange messages and opinions more effectively. It is better to know about
the problem before it arises.
Think twice, cut once.
How often do we find ourselves trying to get ahead in a queue, which leads to nowhere,
trying to find the solution to the old problem, or trying to find the guilty in the crowd of
witnesses…? Problem-solving is an innate part of the human experience. Our brain is
conditioned to figure out what’s happening at all times, in any situation. It is thanks to this
ability that we’ve overcome so much and developed the lives we live today. But it can also
become a great hindrance.
While coming up with a solution might feel like a great task to deal with, finding out the
grounds of the problem is most likely the best one. Especially when working in a team, we
are prone to try and quickly address the issue, which might mitigate the consequences of a
deeper-engrained difficulty. It is like administering a ‘band-aid’ for an internal cut with
external grazing. It will slow down the bleeding, but it won’t take care of the wound.
So, whenever your team encounters an issue, think twice before reacting to it. Thanks to
this approach of ‘thinking twice and cutting once’, you will be able to learn from each
difficulty and improve for the days to come.
Improvise, adapt, and overcome.
In the end, there is you and your team against the job. Working in any industry includes
challenges and daily struggles, so by making your team stronger you will make your life
easier. Whether you need to address a customer complaint, deliver a project before the
deadline, or stop your comrade from stepping on a mine, by becoming more team-focused
you will create an environment of trust, reliability, and effectiveness.
Dealing with challenges as they come along will not be easy, but through cooperation,
effective communication, and well thought out attitude, your team will inevitably
overcome them all.
It might be also useful to remember the attitude of the Marine Corp of the US Army, which
invites to ‘improvise, adapt, and overcome…’