You are as much an employee as you are a “team member,” no matter where you work or what you do. In some environments, this seems like a half-hearted attempt at trying to create solidarity. However, believe it or not, there are some places out there where you are actually a part of a team. I’m fortunate to work in one of them. And from what I’ve seen, a lot of workplaces are beginning to follow this trend.
Of course, when you come from environments where the culture is not conducive to true teamwork, you can find yourself in a bit of a culture shock. It’s a good change, a great change, even. But change is change and you still need to adapt.
Here are 4 tips to follow when working with a team:
Its O.K. to let yourself be heard.
When you’re working on a true team, not only are your opinions and suggestions appreciated, but you are expected to voice them! On a true team, your fellow team members want to hear what you have to say. They value you and your ideas. How refreshing is that? This is a wonderful thing because it not only gives you the freedom of expression in the workplace, but it also enables better brainstorming, the merging of ideas, and the creation of amazing things.
Don’t forget to listen.
The pendulum swings both ways! Sure, you’re expected to contribute your ideas to the team, but you’re also expected to listen to the ideas of others. You’ll find that you’re better for it, too. Let your team members inspire you and encourage you to become even more creative.
Know your limits and respect them.
When you’re a part of a true team it’s all right to ask for help. Sometimes we have a bad day or even a bad week and sometimes we get in over our head. Don’t forget that this team has been created for a reason, you’re supposed to work together. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help, especially if you’ve never worked with a supportive team before, but give it a try. If you are overwhelmed or having a rough day and you don’t ask for help, you aren’t doing anyone any favors. Your whole team will feel it. Evaluate your current situation and make sure you can handle it. If not, you know you have support. And, of course, this goes both ways. Be prepared to support your team members when they need it.
Learn to communicate effectively.
To keep a team strong, effective communication is key. It helps to figure out how each of your team members communicates. Someone might prefer email, while others do better with a face to face or over the phone conversation. Figuring out their preference is the first step in effective communication. If your emails keep getting lost in someone’s inbox, your messages aren’t doing anyone any good. After a while you’ll get a feel for what everyone needs when it comes to communication.
Working in a team environment is an extremely effective way to get things done. In my experience, when everyone feels supported they tend to be more productive and more honest about where they’re at and what they can handle. Teams are definitely the way to go. After all, “Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!”