Have you ever been in a team situation where you felt that you performed well on an individual level, but struggled to connect with the group as a whole? This is a common problem for people in leadership positions, and it’s something that takes some self-reflection to recognize. As I discussed in last month’s blog post, when a group doesn’t work together to solve problems, overall productivity suffers. Teamwork skills for leaders are an essential part of group success.
Real teamwork cannot happen when members of the group disassociate themselves from the conversation. It only takes one person to derail a team meeting, because a stubborn team member slows down the idea building process. We all do this to some extent, and it’s rare to find someone who won’t collaborate at all, but it’s still worth observing our own minor infractions whenever possible. There is almost always room for improvement when it comes to being a more communicative team member.
Show Your Commitment
If your heart’s not in a project, how can you expect others to care about it? This is especially important in leadership positions, where something as simple as voice inflection can affect the morale of the team. Beyond seeming like you care about a task, make an effort to genuinely care about the end result. Everyone in an office is on the same team, and as such, there should always be goals that unite employees together. Setting and caring about these goals starts at the top, and if you show a lack of interest, your team will too.
Nobody is always right. It’s a simple truth that is easy to forget in the thick of an ambition-laden corporate world. Simply accepting that you and everyone you know will be dead wrong at certain points during their careers is a humbling and important realization. When you are presented with new factual information that contradicts something you previously believed, it’s essential to be willing to change your opinion. It is more difficult for some people to do this than others, but flexibility is a fundamental characteristic of a good team member.
As important as adaptability is to collaboration, it cannot happen without a willingness to listen. Everyone has had meetings where they have zoned out — it might feel unavoidable when the meeting topic is somewhat mundane and all you can think about is what to make for dinner. If you ever notice yourself falling into one of these spells, stop to think about how it feels to present your ideas or opinions to the group. Chances are, you appreciate when others listen to what you have to say, and those same people deserve your full attention. Even if you disagree with someone’s opinion, respectfully listening to it is essential. The team will notice your receptivity and appreciate your consideration.
Use Opinions for Problem Solving
All too often, people view their opinions as if they are weapons for a verbal battle. In reality, an opinion is simply a stepping-stone towards a solution that benefits the whole group. When you formulate an opinion, always do so with the intention of solving a larger problem, rather than simply discrediting someone else’s idea. There will be times when disagreements occur, and that’s fine, as long as every team member understands that a difference of opinion can actually lead to a productive outcome. Compromises are a must for team meetings, so it’s often necessary to let go of your ideas for the benefit of the group. Be willing to meet halfway at times.
Thoughts to Consider
While it’s impossible to always be the perfect team player, making an effort to improve is not. In fact, the most successful leaders continually look for new ways to connect with their employees and serve as a stronger part of the team. If you’re interested in gaining new work collaboration skills, check out our Team Building Services. Darke & Associates provides a wide variety of tools that can help make your office more productive, one meeting at a time.