Some people are natural team players. They are collaborative, they are easy to work with, they’re committed and helpful to their team mates. When companies invest in team building events, it’s these people who get even better. The same cannot be said of others. It seems to have no effect on them. They continue to be difficult to work with and this makes it frustrating for those who have natural preference for teamwork.
Working successfully in a team requires skill. Some people developed these skills early in their lives because they are naturally wired for collaboration, coordination and cooperation. Some people are more comfortable with being self-sufficient and getting things done with as little interaction with others as possible. There are types of work where people with these skill-sets can do well. However, a lot of organizations and business processes require interdependence where not being a team-player is a definite show-stopper.
The big question now is, how do you prepare people who are not naturally inclined for teamwork to be team players? The answer is train them. What do they need to learn? Here are a few suggestions:
Assertiveness – Many of those who fail at teamwork have difficulty communicating assertively. Many are too passive, some are passive-aggressive while others, especially those with coercive influence are aggressive. In the Philippines, there seems to be this idea that respecting one’s opinion means not questioning it. The speaker believes it and the listener believes it. This kind of thinking messes up the opportunity for truly open team communication. When people go to team building events but don’t have the skill for assertive communication, team communication doesn’t improve, hence, teamwork doesn’t improve.
Trust building – Opening up to others is not easy for many people. A lot of us prefer to be careful than to be open. Team members need to paradigm-shift and learn how to expedite trust-building with others and use it to build their confidence for opening up, deciding to trust others and communicate and level expectations to make that trust mutual.
Engaging in productive conflict – Very few people like conflict. They prefer others to agree with them. However, if a team is to succeed in utilizing the mental power of team members, there are bound to be conflict of ideas and opinions. Team members need to learn how to be comfortable with this and learn to capitalize on diverse ideas to find the best solutions. To do this, they need to learn how conflict works and how they can facilitate productive conversations amidst conflict.
Team Learning and Working Tools – It helps to have some tools for team collaboration. There are several team problem solving tools that can be used. There are also tools like Six Thinking Hats, Team learning, brainstorming, open space conversation and some agile team methods that can be learned.
Leadership – one thing shared by high performing teams is leadership. In order to participate in shared leadership, team members need to learn about how that works. John Maxwell’s “The 360 Degree Leader” provides some great ideas on how to lead from the middle or the bottom. I believe that learning this improves people’s inputs to teamwork
I’m pretty sure that there are more teamworking skills that can be learned to make individuals work better with their teams.
I believe that leaders, the ones who are ultimately accountable for the team’s performance need to look into these skills and see which ones their team members need to learn so they can become better team players.
Want to find out how ExeQserve Can help your team members become better team players? Call us at 8933199 or visit our website at www.exeqserve.com