Have you ever worked in a team or are you going to work in a team soon? Has it been smooth working in a team or are you dreading working in a team?

Depending on how you choose to look at it, team working can be productive and yield high-performance results if managed properly. So how do you make working in a team go smoothly?

Teamworking essentially means a group of people who come together voluntarily or involuntarily to reach objectives for which it was formed and eventually build interpersonal relationship. Teamwork is a skill that can be developed. Organizations make use of teamwork to promote its corporate culture, complete its scope of work, or departmental tasks with high quality, solve problems, enhance creativity, and generally meet its corporate objectives.

This is why very often during a job interview, questions relating to teamwork skills are asked. This article will give you ways to  work as a good team member and reduce any form of chaos that may arise as a result of working in a team.

Notice we are not talking about team building skills, but teamwork skills. This is because I have come to learn over time that it goes well beyond just building a team but understanding your team members, realizing their weaknesses and strengths and having a consistent rapport even after the team’s tasks are accomplished.

Here are ways to improve your team working skills.

Set Expectations

To have an effective team, you need to begin by setting expectations. What is most important is that you as a team member should understand what is expected of you, your duties / tasks. A good team member should properly discuss expected outcomes with team members.  Also, discuss with the team on how you intend to meet these expectations and possible ways of communications.

Consider how you intend to send emails, the time you need to do so, or if you will discuss in person. Will it be through phone calls or will you need to set up meetings from time to time, pending the completion of your project?

Also ensure that other team members are in consensus and finally make commitments together. Here, you will need to split the work and be sure of what task you should specifically complete.

Give Solutions

To improve your teamwork skills, always have solutions to your tasks. If you need to correct other team members, make constructive criticisms. Do not immediately disregard a team member’s opinion. Rather, listen attentively and then give better solutions. Make a contribution, an idea, be creative.

Use sentences like, “…wouldn’t it be better if we….”, “..we can do it this way….”

Avoid using the first person singular, “I”. Try as much as possible to use words like “we”, “us”. It is a group, let it be more of togetherness.

Trust

While working in a team, you should learn to trust your team members to do their own end of the job. Give them the benefit of the doubt and avoid micromanaging them. Take notes of their challenges and their needs. It is a joint effort, so help one another by trusting that they can do their part. On that note, if you need to make presentations remember to let them take hold of their fair share of the presentation and don’t interject.

Understand your Team Members

Understand the personality of each team member. Look out for non-verbal cues while communicating. Try to take note of whether they are comfortable with an idea or not, and explain better. Rub minds with them rather than imposing your ideas by all means. Give them time to discuss the issue. Realize what may be upsetting to them. This is because asides wanting to reach the objectives for which the team was set up for, you also want to have a team to rely on afterward. It is really important to understand individual differences.

Encourage Team Members

Consistently motivate and encourage other members of the team. Remove a weight or responsibility where you can and if necessary. Remind team members of their value to the team as well as yourself. Take note of whether a member is going through some personal crisis which may affect the team’s productivity in the end and offer to help if necessary. Otherwise, give words of encouragement.

Integrity

If you wish to make a decision, come clean. Be a man or woman of your word. Be honest and transparent. Do not say something in an email that you cannot say in person. Make decisions and stick to it, be ready to defend it with other team members. Communicate straight up with your team members in a polite manner and respect team members.

Summary/ feedback

Encourage feedback from other team members and accept corrections. One of the advantages of teamwork is the diverse ideas it encourages, so be open to change and new ideas and learn from it. There is no need to engage in a win or lose activity within the group.

Celebrate Achievements

After the completion of the team’s objectives, celebrate achievements. Thank other team members for time committed to the project. Appreciate the efforts of others. Celebrate and work towards relaxing. Remember to keep in touch with team members and maintain a good relationship.
Working in a team can be challenging if not properly managed. These tips will help you work in a team effectively and help you enjoy the journey. Zinny Factor is a blog that aims to help you succeed in your workplace and chosen career.