Teamwork is a term used to describe two or more people, collaborating together, to reach a common goal. Teamwork also implies working together in a way that promotes the benefit of all participants involved. Following, are some helpful tips on developing teamwork skills.
First, begin thinking long-term versus short-term. What is your long-term goal in sacrificing personal preferences, for the greater good of the team? Many times, skills needed to create effective teamwork have additional life bonuses. For example, a boss who notices your efforts to serve others may end up promoting you. Use these goals as motivation to persevere when working as a team seems too bothersome.
Second, set realistic and measurable short-term goals to help you reach your long-term goal(s). For example, if you realize that you could improve your active listening skills, try setting a short-term, measurable goal to not interrupt others at least five times per day, for one week. Once this goal has been satisfied, increase it to ten times per day, and so forth.
Third, learn and practice the art of empathy. Empathy requires putting yourself in another’s shoes and seeing the situation through his/her perspective. If you can become more empathetic towards your teammates, then you may naturally be more inclined to not only help them, but to also develop a personal connection with them.
Fourth, hone your communication skills. Teamwork requires all participants to communicate effectively. Seek to understand the unique communication styles of each member. For example, if one team member is well versed in written communication, assign her as the team secretary. This will advance the team goals, while honoring each individual’s inherent talents.
Last but not least: have fun! If you are used to working independently, working as a team may at first seem arduous. Make it a point to not always be too serious. Not only will this take pressure off of you, but it will endear you to your teammates and allow them to feel more comfortable around you.
In conclusion, developing teamwork skills requires time, effort, and a willingness to have fun. Setting short-term and long-term personal goals, in addition to team goals, will allow you to see beyond the current project. Also, honing empathy and communication skills will assist you in obtaining additional side-benefits beyond the goals of the team. These benefits can help motivate you to be a better team player and a generally more well-rounded individual.