In this blog, I hope to  discuss ways we can improve our “team.” We all belong to a team. Whether it is a corporate office team, sales team, sports team, or ministry team we all play an important role in the success of the organization.

If you have ever participated in team rowing you can appreciate the importance of everyone working together with the same goal of moving forward to arrive at a desired destination. In rowing, there are no star players. However, this does not mean each person does not have a vital role to play. The coach sits in seat number one in the rear of the boat. The coach steers the boat, while also giving motivation and reassurance to the crew. Each oarsman uniquely provides power to the boat: setting the pace, translating the rhythm, determining stoke, injecting power, relaying power, backing up the stroke, and keeping balance. Every position on the boat is important, and all are dependent on each other for success.

Just as teamwork is critical to rowing, it is the key that drives successful organizations. Never forget you are a valued member of the team, no matter what role you play. Whether you are at the top of the organizational chart or at the bottom, it is critical to work together and support the people around you. Successful teams work together.

Undoubtedly, on every team, there will be conflict. Differences of opinion, personality clashes, competitiveness, power struggles, egos, or someone just having a bad day. Fredrick Douglas, a social reformer once said, “Without conflict, there is no progress.” However, I believe it is how the individuals handle conflict that determines whether there is progress.

Below are six steps to help become a better team player by Khadija Fetuga:

  1. Accept that conflict is normal and can occur within groups. Believe it or not, disagreements can help shape the group’s norms and identity. Conflict will be easier to deal with if each group member understands that disagreements play a normal and fundamental role in group formation.
  2. Be willing to acknowledge good ideas even in the face of competition. In the face of competition, a team player is willing to admit when a fellow group member has a better or more practical idea than his or her own. Praising each other has a positive effect on the group by improving the probability of the project’s success. Remember—when the group looks good, it makes you look good too.
  3. Avoid backbiting and complaining about fellow team members. One of the quickest ways to hurt your own reputation and to disturb group relations is to talk negatively about another group member, particularly behind his or her back. Should a problem develop do your best to solve it with that group member, addressing the issue directly and tactfully, or, if absolutely necessary, consult your supervisor.
  4. Use your resources. When a group is put together for the purpose of completing a particular project, the members may not have all of the expertise needed to perform their tasks sufficiently. Do not be afraid to ask questions and seek advice from those within your organization who can provide the information needed to increase the group’s knowledge and effectiveness.
  5. Delegate according to your strengths. It would be a waste to ask the most talented researcher to do the organizing and the most talented organizer to do the researching. By first assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each group member, you are able to delegate tasks to the members with the strongest skills in that area. Giving assignments according to the interests and strong points of your teammates will increase your chances of success and efficiency.
  6. Go the extra mile. Whether that means staying in the office after 5 p.m., or taking on more responsibility, your team relies on you doing your part and doing it well. Sometimes that means taking on more than you initially expected. Going the extra mile is not only one way to ensure the success of your project, but also an effective way to gain the respect of fellow co-workers.

I hope this blog contributes to the success of your team!

Bob Geil

References: Khadija Fetug