If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.
None of us is as smart as all of us.
What do choirs, symphonies, NASA space launches, the Golden State Warriors, military operations, Olympic pair skating, successful marriages, hospital emergency rooms, business projects, and your favorite restaurant have in common? The answer: their success depends on teamwork. Great teamwork. Not surprisingly, as our economy shifts and workplaces become more collaborative, employers are placing a premium on teamwork and interpersonal skills in their staffing decisions.
The fact is, teamwork takes work! There are many moving parts in any team and success is highly fragile. Here are the reasons why: 1) egos and self interest get in the way, 2) weak leadership, 3) personality clashes, 4) underperformers, 5) insufficient skill diversity, 6) blaming and internal strife, and 7) poor communication. Is it any wonder why so few sports franchises are truly dynasties?
So, what makes teams work together skillfully and harmoniously toward a common vision? Here are four essential ingredients: 1) each member delivering great performance, 2) effective leadership in assigning responsibilities to team members, 3) an ability to work well with each other, and 4) putting the team ahead of the individual. Simply stated, successful team members abide by the formula:
We > Me.
Here’s a sampler of the qualities of team minded people:
respectfulness * subordination of self interest to team interest * solutions minded * encouragement and appreciation of others * resilience * loyalty * excellent listening * goal orientation * dependability * diplomacy * conflict resolver * helpfulness * positivity * courtesy * affability * tact. No wonder why team mindedness is such a prized quality in the workplace! How would you rate yourself on these qualities?
Also, it takes great interpersonal skills to be an excellent team player. Relational skills are vitally important in the workplace and often are underestimated by people who unfortunately think success is all about smarts. In the business arena, our relationship spheres include colleagues, customers, sales prospects, owners, the community, suppliers, and, yes, your supervisor. Each of these relationships offers the potential for professional and personal friendships, too.
Here are some interpersonal success pointers we share in our What I Wish I Knew at 18 book and curriculum:
- Be an encourager rather than a critic
- Give others credit before yourself
- Strive to be an agreeable disagreer
- Work synergistically toward common goals
- Regularly show appreciation and gratitude
- Solicit and embrace constructive feedback
- Remember that how you say it can be more important than what you say
- Focus on solutions more than the problem
- Don’t whine; just do it
- Talk it out, don’t write it out; avoid using written communications on sensitive or emotionally charged topics
- Give others the benefit of the doubt and avoid assuming bad intentions
- Take responsibility for your mistakes and shortfalls and avoid blaming
- Laugh often
Parents, team mindedness and strong interpersonal skills in your children are critical to their success in life. Unfortunately, signs are everywhere that technology overuse is having harmful effects on our children’s relational skill development. Isolation, social awkwardness, and a preference for tech-based communication over face-to-face communication are growing tendencies in a world that values collaboration more than ever. It’s a disconnect that deserves all of our attention.
Stay tuned for next week’s topic: Friendliness.