Teamwork Skills

Being able to work in a team is essential when you are a part of a large endeavour. Though some persons are natural team players, for others working in a team can be a learning experience. With the right knowledge and approach we can all be good team players. Here is information to help you build the skills required to work well in a team.

CONTRIBUTE

Teamwork requires each member of the team to contribute. A member can contribute in several ways. For example with strategy suggestions, ideas and effort. Of these contributing effort is very important, teams where effort is shared work better.

COOPERATE

Teamwork requires cooperation. There will usually be several persons contributing and they will need to have good coordination. As a team member you should be open to working together with other members of the team.

COMMUNICATE

Teamwork requires good communication skills. Your team members will appreciate your inputs best when you communicate them well. So put forward your thoughts clearly and in an easy to understand way. If you feel you are not able to communicate well you should work on your communication skills.

ASSIGN ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

Teams usually bring together diverse talents. Therefore assigning a proper role to leverage each talent is important. There may also be hierarchy among the roles such as team leaders and group leaders. For the success of teams clarity of roles and responsibilities is very important. If you are assigned a role you should know it well and understand your responsibilities. You should communicate openly with team members while following the established culture for respecting hierarchies. You should also be ready to assign roles and plan hierarchies yourself. For this you will need to have good delegation skills and communications skills.

BE RESPECTFUL

When you work in teams you will find a variety of approaches, ideas, customs, opinions and preferences. The diversity of opinions is a key strength of a team. A key aspect of being respectful is listening attentively. You should give due consideration to the opinions of others. You should comment on the opinions respectfully. This will enable you to participate in group decision making.

BE OPEN AND SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

An open and free exchange of ideas makes sure a team evaluates a wide range of options. Do not worry too much about how your ideas will be received. Speak your mind if you have something to say. If there is criticism of your ideas don’t take it personally. You can either defend your idea or if the criticism is valid, learn from it. Good teams will encourage openness and benefit from it.

ACCEPT TEAM DECISIONS

Not everything that the team decides will be aligned with what you had wanted. A broad consensus is often not possible. One option is to be flexible, avoid conflict and let two different outlooks co-exist. It is important that once a plan has been made, everyone works to make it succeed.

BE RELIABLE

Teamwork depends a lot on each person fulfilling their assigned tasks. Team members who can be relied on, are valued highly. Being able to work in a team will give a person a lot of strength. A person’s self belief will go up. Specially when the person realizes that others depend on the person and the trust is vindicated. A person’s vision broadens with the realization that diverse talents can work together towards a common goal.

(content courtesy IIT Kanpur)