Teamwork how do I get better at it
We have a number of resources available to you to help you develop your collaboration and teamwork skills.
Teamwork and collaboration
This free short online course from RIT looks at how to develop essential teamwork and collaboration skills to lead, build and motivate teams in the workplace. These are great skills to understand and nurture before you start work.
This article from targetjobs looks at why teamwork and collaboration are so important wwith employers when they are recruiting for new staff. You’ll also learn ways to help develop your teamworking skills – ideal before you start work.
Teamworking – top tips
Being part of a team involves dealing with a variety of opinions, working with people who might not get along, and coming across many different personalities. This can often lead to conflict and to delays when it comes to finishing a project – something which every employer wants to avoid at all costs.
There are many great advantages to working in a team. For example, being surrounded by different perspectives, instead of one, is likely to help you come up with new ideas and solutions. When you work on your own, it can sometimes be hard to be objective and distance yourself from a specific idea, even a bad one. Having a colleague or team member who can offer you constructive criticism is always helpful.
Being able to divide tasks and share the workload with other members of your team also means that you don’t have to do every single thing yourself, which can be time-consuming and stressful.
Knowing how to operate in a team, and understanding how you can get the best out of working with others, will make you a great employee, an agreeable colleague and a more effective person.
Here are our top tips for becoming a brilliant team player.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that every person is different and people work in different ways. It’s useful to keep an open mind, particularly when you’re working across cultures and time zones. In some cultures, staying quiet is a sign of respect, while in others being vocal and expressive is thought to be an important sign of contribution. It’s only natural that colleagues may sometimes disagree and a discussion might even become heated. Whatever happens, staying respectful is key to good communication and cooperation, which will also help you deliver a successful project.
Embrace the diversity
How boring would it be if every person worked in the same way? It’s very unlikely that society would have come as far as it has without people who think outside the box and take risks. Similarly, we would also be lost without the people who ensure these ideas come in to fruition and think carefully about the consequences. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to identify the strengths and interests of each of your team members before you actually start working on a project. Someone with a weakness in a certain area might be better off focusing on an area that they are more comfortable in. On the other hand, they may want to develop and improve in these areas, and you might be the right person to support them. If you believe you can help, perhaps try working with them one to one – it will greatly benefit the team.
You may be a total night owl, unable to function during morning hours. You may perhaps be one of those people who won’t do anything until last-minute panic kicks in, and that’s when you give it everything you have, and thrive. Whatever it is that makes you tick, bear in mind that you may have to adapt your working style when you’re part of a team.
Don’t sit back
Taking in what other people say (and even what they don’t say) is important when you need to assess a situation and come up with a solution. But there’s a difference between being an active listener and being the lazy person in the team who just lets everyone else do the work. So don’t be that person! You don’t necessarily have to be involved in every aspect of the project, but if you feel you can contribute, then do. This will earn you respect among your colleagues, and you will learn a lot along the way.
It can sometimes be stressful working with other people all the time, especially if there are disagreements. Do try to make the most of it and above all, enjoy the process. Try bringing some cupcakes along to one of the meetings and don’t be afraid to talk about something that isn’t work-related – it helps you to be personable and relatable. This will help your colleagues appreciate you as a person rather than just a team member who doesn’t have a choice!
Return to teamwork section for information on how to demonstrate these skills on your CV, in your job applications and at work.