One of the business clichés you’ll often hear is “there’s no I in team”. But in reality, teams are made up of people and each of those is an individual, and each has their own drivers and motivations.
We’re all members of teams to various extents. We’re in work teams, teams of associates, sports teams, and maybe our hobbies involve teams. We’re members of school PTAs, school governors, or trustees of charities and voluntary organisations committees. So most of us are a member of at least one team. And we’re all part of a family, which may be the ultimate team.
Here are a few ideas to think about, and take action on, to help become a more effective team member.
1. Identify the challenge. Think about why the team exists. What’s the specific challenge that your team has to address? What does the team have to deliver? Having a clear view of the challenge or deliverables gives you and the team focus and a target to aim for.
2. Set a vision. Picture what success will be like when the team meets its challenge or deliverables. How will it feel as you move towards, and successfully deliver, your vision? Use the vision to help motivate yourself and to keep going, even when things get tough.
3. Set objectives. Set yourself objectives that will move you and the team towards meeting the challenge and delivering the vision. Break the big picture down into a number of achievable steps.
4. Measure progress. Identify a few things that you need to measure. Report progress against these measures and your objectives to people who need to know. Celebrate successes as you achieve each objective.
5. Understand your role. Make sure you clearly understand your role in the team. What are the expectations on you? If you’re not sure of your role, how do you know if you’re working and contributing effectively?
6. Know yourself. Think about and understand your personal style and preferred ways of working. Consider how that impacts on others in the team. How could you adapt your style to help other team members be more effective?
7. Understand others. Think about the other team members’ styles and preferred ways of working. Recognise that they may work differently to how you like to work. There’s no right or wrong way. How can you play to their preferences and strengths?
8. Know your skills. Understand your own skills and capabilities and recognise where there are any gaps. If needed, look at how you could develop yourself. Use other team member’s skills to compensate for the things you’re not as good at.
9. Share your knowledge. Consider the knowledge and experience you have, and bring it to the team. Pool your knowledge and experience with that of other members so you have a full picture of the team’s capabilities. Don’t take your knowledge and experience for granted or undersell it.
10. Give and accept feedback. Be prepared to give open, honest and timely feedback to other team members. Accept feedback yourself from others and decide where to make changes and improvements as a result of that feedback.
If we all became more effective individual team members that would not only improve our own performance, it would help to develop and influence other members of the team. Ultimately that would benefit the overall team and improve everyone’s experience of being a member of that team.
So teams are made up of individuals. According to Google, the Finnish word for team is ‘tiimi’, so maybe there are actually three ‘I’s in team. Just make sure they all work together effectively.
Owner of AWD Development Solutions Ltd.
About the author
I set up AWD Development Solutions in April 2014 after a 26-year career at Rolls-Royce plc. I’m a professionally qualified people development specialist with an initial background in engineering so my solutions are practical and pragmatic. I’ve worked globally in senior Employee Development and Human Resources positions.
The purpose of AWD Development Solutions is to help businesses and organisations to grow by building and developing high performing teams, and developing highly effective team leaders and team members to improve team performance.
development, team, team member