Team Building Part 1 – Honing Your Craft To Become A Skilled Team Player
I often focus on the qualifications and leadership skills needed to empower yourself and to emerge as a leader throughout your career and personal life. Yes, developing leadership skills is important, but what good are they if you don’t have a solid team in place TO Lead?
Many of the companies we work with are struggling to find cohesion within a group: What is the secret to bringing members from a GROUP to a TEAM? The answer is a unified goal, or what I call the “CenterPoint”, a single reference point or a shared goal that holds the collective focus of a team. Teamwork is the collective potential of individuals harnessed to create an exponential outcome of a unit. Effective teamwork requires many variables including trust, communication, a belief in purpose greater than self, and a common goal.
Similar to leadership skills, attaining and developing teamwork skills take time, energy, and practice to employ. To this end, I want to unpack how you can bring out critical skills within your team and empower them to succeed.
Let’s begin with the age-old house building analogy. Before building a home, you must have a solid foundation. Can a house stand if the foundation, walls, floors, windows aren’t sturdy? The answer is NO; notwithstanding anyway. The same is true for a team to succeed. When any of the individual parts of the structure are weak, the team is weak as well.
So, how do you strengthen the structural parts? Individuals must look inward and identify skills necessary to be a strong team member. These are called interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills in a team setting consist of: sensitivity and empathy; accurate interpretation of behaviors within the group (both verbal and nonverbal), acceptance of all cultures and diversities, and reception of constructive criticism. Individuals must possess at least a small percentage of each of these interpersonal skills in order to be an active and effective team member. And like all skills, interpersonal skills can be learned and improved.
Use these tips to practice your interpersonal skill set to become a valuable team member:
- Before entering into any situation (meeting, conversation) focus on one thing you would like to take away from the encounter. What would you like to learn? Are you open to new opportunities?
- Don’t interrupt your brain! Turn off all electronics. Phone calls, emails and texts can wait. Focus on what is happening in the present moment and absorb all information.
- Ask questions, nod, smile! Be engaging and approachable!
- Offer your opinion when prompted and be willing to accept others’ ideas and inputs to improve upon your proposal.
This week’s challenge is to focus your efforts on cultivating interpersonal skills. Doing so will broaden your horizons, open your mind to new opportunities, situations, and diverse cultures.
Next week we will talk about critical thinking skills and applying them to strengthen your role within a team.