Task before ego, team before self.
And remember, there is no ‘I’ in team.
Teamwork is the key to success in most realms of life and work.
At some point in our lives, we become part of a team. The rewards that come from that opportunity can be life-changing and long lasting, especially when we have a positive experience.
Some of us are lucky enough to experience great teamwork at an early age. For others, it may come later in life. Eventually it comes, and we discover what a life-changing, team experience can be like.
The “Me” Time
When we’re in the zone of feeling what it’s like to be part of a cohesive team, we should embrace it. At heart, most of us are social animals who find strength and comfort among others. Being part of a unit helps us to socialize in a positive and constructive way, to learn about ourselves and others.
Sure, we all need our ‘me’ time so we can re-charge our batteries, and take our mind off the daily grind with regular alone time.
‘Me’ time can also occur when someone presents us with the opportunity to talk about ourselves, to speak about something we enjoy or are passionate about. It’s nice to have that opportunity to share and engage with others. All the better if the other person is genuinely inquisitive and a good listener, too.
It can feel good to talk about ourselves sometimes, to say “I had this experience, and let me tell you about it.” Even if we’re not used to it, or we’re somewhat modest or introverted, we may feel it’s inappropriate or that we’re perceived of being boastful in some way because we’re talking about ourselves. It’s healthy and good for the soul to share our stories and it’s good for others as well.
Becoming Part of a Team
When it comes to being part of a team, and creating a teamwork dynamic, it’s okay – and should be encouraged – to bring some of that ‘me’ with you. The “you” or the “me” offer the opportunity for other members of the team to get to know you and understand the “us.” WE are contributing ourselves and our skills, and sharing our focus for others to know so we can all work together efficiently and effectively.
After all, teamwork is a process of working collaboratively with others to achieve goals. To collaborate, we must have a certain amount of self-focus to successfully contribute to the team. The rest of our focus belongs to the team if we are to be successful, productive and competent.
While sharing ourselves and our focus, it’s important that we, as part of the team, also:
- Check our egos at the door;
- Be humble but step up as needed;
- Communicate clearly; and
- Resolve conflicts by consensus or quorum.
There’s a big difference between having self-focus and being self-focused or egotistical. Anyone who truly understands and practices teamwork knows there’s no room for egotistical or self-focused behavior. It’s just wrong, it’s immature, and it tears apart a team in no time.
Better to be humble than egotistical. Your team will be better served.
However, even when you’re humble, it’s still important to step up. This can turn a negative situation into a positive one and inspire others to shift their focus, re-think things, and help the team turn things around. Other times, being less humble is the right thing to do even if you’re unsure of yourself in that moment. It just needs to happen, and if no one else is taking the lead, be the person to make it happen.
Essential Edge for Effective Teams
Integral to effective teamwork is rock-solid communication. That includes verbal and non-verbal communication. What our body is saying to others is as or more important than what we verbalize. Actions in the form of non-verbal communication oftentimes speak louder than words. If you’re unsure about your effectiveness as a communicator, ask for feedback from the team. No one is more effective at providing feedback than your teammates you’re working with on a regular basis.
While teamwork is about commitment to one another, and getting along, there will, inevitably, be conflict. Conflict is okay if it’s healthy – where we agree to disagree – but forge ahead regardless. That means we need to resolve conflict by consensus or quorum, and the sooner, the better.
Quick and effective conflict resolution is crucial to a team’s success. Team members must assess themselves honestly, and consistently strive to do their best, for the good of the team. We must set aside our egos and stay on point with the team’s tasks and goals. When we do, there’s no limit to our team’s accomplishments.
Embrace the opportunity to be part of a team. Take advantage of all that teamwork offers, regardless of the type of team to which you belong. Your life will change, as will the lives of your teammates and the rewards will last a lifetime.