Effective teamwork in the modern workplace is an idea that seems fairly easy to execute on paper, but when it comes down to the interactions of different humans, it turns into a gamble of how cohesive that group can work and succeed with each other.
Ending up with a high-functioning team will not only make your day more enjoyable, but you’ll see how well you complement each other’s strengths when working together. This ‘team mentality energy’ will encourage productivity and decrease disruptive group interactions and eventually, become part of your organizational culture.
Here are some functional and personal tips on joining a team to achieve the ultimate amount of success:
A) Understanding TEAM goals and committing to achieving them.
Yes, we all have different personal goals or numbers to reach, but our jobs don’t involve just those.
As a collective member of an organization, dig into the numbers, ask questions, and picture what needs to get done by EACH individual for group success. Once individual members become accountable for their contribution to the group goal, it’s just a matter of prioritizing your goals to be the best co-worker you can be.
B) Establishing and abiding by team norms.
Just as we have social norms in society, we can establish team norms in the workplace.
Team norms help guide our behavior on how to work cohesively with each other as well as for noticing behavior that could negatively impact a team.
Some examples of team norms include:
- Understanding all team members are equal by:
- Having thoughtful reactions to opinions
- Upholding deadlines that affect others in the group
- Having strong interpersonal skills
- Communicating respectfully
- Listen, listen, listen.
- We tend to fall into patterns of being rushed or wanting to get our thoughts out before anyone else has said them, or even the fear of forgetting them. But actively listening and fully taking in someone’s thoughts will lead to a more effective meeting or brainstorm session.
- Everyone can be a leader!
- Recognizing each other’s strengths allows responsibilities to be delegated more appropriately. Just because another team member is better at a particular part of your job, does not mean you are failing. It means you have a complementing strength to bring to the team and complete the group.
- Competitiveness should encourage overall teamwork, not put members against each other.
C) You have a sense of belonging.
Just as we all have felt growing up when trying to make friends going to school, or even at that part-time job, a sense of belonging is what can make the ultimate difference in your modern workplace.
When our team norms are developed and followed through with, we have a deep commitment to the group’s actions. Viewing each other as unique individuals, with sometimes completely different experiences, viewpoints, and opinions, is something to be celebrated.
A ‘sense of belonging’ allows many diverse people to come together to:
- Create solutions to problems
- Find creative new ways to improve processes
- Collaborate on the best way to complete a project
- Most importantly, never take the uniqueness of someone for granted
In the workplace, a sense of belonging can be stronger than any public recognition or raise. It is something that a team has developed, followed through with, and stuck to because they noticed the differences between tackling projects alone versus in a group.
These tips and tricks have been reinforced in us through social norms within school environments, as well as previous work and life experiences. But being in the modern workplace, where there never seems to be enough time in the day, the importance of having an effective team and committing oneself to team norms can be forgotten.
Overall, the success of a company is dependent on the cohesiveness of teams that support it; by the celebration of uniqueness and the importance of belonging, and the ability to speak, listen, and act respectfully.
Nina Luzzo, Research and Sourcing Specialist at Objective Paradigm-Talution Group, is a graduate of DePaul University. Nina studied Sociology: Law, Crime and Criminology, in addition to dedicating much of her free time to tutoring at the Quantitative Reasoning Center at DePaul. Nina thrives on new approaches to old problems through data analysis. Connect with Nina on LinkedIn.