In my experience, working productively alongside other people always gets a better result than working in isolation. That doesn’t mean working with others is always easy – in fact it is often quite hard! But, an idea or project will always be better with many perspectives contributing to it and testing it.
Here’s a few ideas and tips for getting the best from working as part of a team.
- Be really clear about expectations. It’s easier to work together when everyone has the same understanding of what they are there to do and the parameters they are working within.
- Bring people to the table early. People are more likely to get behind a vision or concept they have a role in developing. Invite people in to a project at the beginning when they can help shape things and develop a sense of shared ownership.
- Remember you are always stronger as a team. Working as a team and utilising everyone’s strengths and experience you will be more confident and competent in the work you develop.
- Find a tool that helps you to use a consistent language to share each team member’s areas of strengths and areas for development. The more you understand what you’re each good at and what you need help at, the more you’ll see opportunities to team up and complement each other’s skills. There are lots of tools available including Gallup Strengths. The important thing is to find the approach that works for you and your colleagues.
- If you’re working in a cross-discipline group, don’t get hung up on labels. I’ve seen a lot of time wasted in my communications career with groups debating whether or not they’re doing marketing or promotion or advertising or communications or engagement. Know your functional disciplines and choose the best tools from each of them for the challenge you are facing. If you rigidly stick to one way of thinking you will miss out on different perspectives that can help you be better and do better.
- Make time. Great working relationships don’t happen overnight – they take time. Invest in getting to know people and understanding their point of view.
And remember to have fun and celebrate success along the way!