Cooperation and Teamwork
Cooperation and teamwork is ideally what we all strive for in business. It’s the way to get the best from our people and also to deliver the best for our customers isn’t it?
There seems to be precious little of this happening in the current political maelstrom in our country today. The ruling party is split, the opposition wants to destroy the country as we know it just to say that we told you so and the parties from the other countries in the UK seem hell bent in sticking to their particularly entrenched views.
In the fog of the conflicting viewpoints, demands and posturing statements no one seems to be saying ‘what will be the best thing for our country and our customers’ ie us! Time and again the politicians ignore the decent, hardworking everyday people in pursuit of their own agendas. If we all ran our businesses like this there would be no UK to exit the EU because it would have collapsed in chaos years ago!
What is needed is cooperation and teamwork. Everyone is entitled to their viewpoint but if that becomes so entrenched that we cannot see that there are others who have differing views and that we have to work and live with them after all of this chaos has died down, then it is clear that something is broken and that our country is headed down a dangerous path.
At Axio Development we have for many years worked with our customer to develop cooperation and teamwork in their people. Yes constructive disagreement is good and healthy, but at the end of the day it’s important that people come together for the business and the customers. Some tips and techniques for cooperation and teamwork are:
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
If you have a problem with someone in your team, talk to them about it. Letting bad feelings brew will only make you sour and want to isolate yourself from the team. Not only does it feel good to get it out, but it will be better for the team in the long run.
Don’t Blame Others
People in your team lose respect for you if you’re constantly blaming others for not meeting deadlines. You’re not fooling anyone and people know who isn’t pulling their weight in a team. Pointing the finger will only make you look cowardly. Team members understand if you have a heavy workload and weren’t able to meet a deadline. Saying something like, “I’m really sorry, but I’ll get it to you by the end of today.” will earn you a lot more respect than trying to make it seem like it’s everyone else’s fault that you missed your deadline.
Support Team Member’s Ideas
If a teammate suggests something, always consider it – even if you don’t always use it. Considering the team’s ideas shows you’re interested in other people’s ideas, not just your own. And this makes you a good team member. After all, nobody likes a know-it-all.
It’s one thing to rejoice in your successes with the team, but don’t act like a superstar. Doing this will make others regret your personal successes and may create tension within the team. People will know when you’ve done a good job. Have faith that people will recognise when good work is being done and that they’ll let you know how well you’re doing.
Look at the person who’s speaking to you, nod, ask probing questions and acknowledge what’s said by paraphrasing points that have been made. If you’re unclear about something that’s been said, ask for more information to clear up any confusion before moving on. Effective communication is a vital part of any team, so the value of good listening skills shouldn’t be underestimated.
Coach, Don’t Demonstrate
When you’re under a time pressure, it’s tempting to demonstrate a task rather than to provide supportive directions. When you say “Let me show you how” your motivation is probably just to get the work done rather than help the team member learn. This can get in the way of that team member’s skill development and makes them dependent on you. In the long run, the individual to whom you’ve demonstrated skills will require guidance for just about everything. Since you’ve done everything for them, they may be hesitant to make decisions or take action without checking with you first.
Provide Constructive Criticism
If you’re providing feedback, be sure to communicate the bad and the good. It’s always hard to hear criticism, but if you highlight the good things too it makes taking the bad a little easier. Also, provide clear suggestions on how your team members can improve. You don’t have to give them all of the solutions, instead guide the team by sharing your knowledge and experience.
Perhaps you’ve assigned a project to a team member that’s of particular interest to you. Initially, you should provide some guidance and communicate that it’s an open door policy for additional questions that may come up along the way. Now, it’s important to back off! It may be tempting to get overly involved, but bite your tongue unless the individual comes to you for input or guidance. As a leader, you must prove to your team members that you believe in their abilities and talents. By staying out of the picture, this shows team members they’ll get a fair chance to demonstrate what they can do without interference.
Work to be Positive
Enthusiasm is contagious… if you’re excited about your team’s work, they will be too. As a leader, your team members look to you for direction. If you notice that the team’s motivation and output levels are in a slump, this is your wake-up call! Have a meeting to discuss what needs to be changed, and really listen to what your team has to say. If you think they may have a difficult time admitting this, get them to write their comments on paper instead. It’s important to stay in tune with your team. You may be surprised by what they have to say
Work on these personal attributes and you will engender better cooperation and teamwork and the bottom line results will surely improve!