Action-oriented leaders work to recruit and develop effective teamwork skills for all members of the team.
But the leader alone can't (and shouldn't!) bear the sole responsibility for development of the team. Instead, every member of the team has a responsibility to take action and work on his or her own individual development in ways that contribute to the team. Take charge of your own contribution and effectiveness.Commitment to the team starts with action for the team. But the skills required for being a strong team contributor will serve you well in other groups, too. These are transferable soft skills that are worth developing for the workplace and for day-to-day effectiveness, too.
These 10 skills may seem basic. But ask anyone who's worked with people who lack these skills or anyone who's struggled to master them... There are more to these skills than perfunctory "going through the motions" if you genuinely hope to be effective.
This list serves as a checklist, a starting point. To dive deeper in areas of interest, follow the links to access free resources from People First Productivity Solutions.
4 effective teamwork skills for communication
- Listen empathetically. Not just passively (with your ears). Not just actively (with your brain). Listen with your heart to hear feelings as well as content. This eBook will give you skill-builders for improving your listening.
- Ask questions. Be purposeful in asking questions that help you to understand what others need and what they value. DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected is a bestseller written for sales professionals. But it can help anyone who wants to connect in ways that will improve their influencing ability and connections.
- Paraphrase to check your understanding. When there are important action items or handoffs, take the time to recap them. Say aloud what you think others are asking you to do. By getting clarity and eliminating confusion, you'll eliminate misunderstandings and build trust.
- Speak up. You're a member of this team because your opinion and experience and ideas are valued. Don't hold back. Use your voice more assertively and effectively in team settings. View this on-demand webinar for tips on speaking up in ways that will improve your team contribution.
3 effective teamwork skills for conflict resolution
- Mine for conflict. Don't shy away from conflict. Seek out diverse opinions. Avoid group think by digging for alternatives and probing for dissenting views. Make it okay to debate and stir the pot. You'll be glad you looked at all the angles before rushing headlong into agreement.
- Disagree without being disagreeable. Instead of aiming for individual wins, aim for group wins. This may mean setting aside individual ego at times. It certainly means being respectful even as you disagree with others.
- Understand others' conflict styles. There are five primary styles when it comes to how we prepare for and enter into conflict (even healthy conflict). Knowing your own and others' styles makes you more effective in negotiating a mutually beneficial outcome. This 4-part webinar series will equip you for any conflict.
3 effective teamwork skills for shared decision-making
- Be inclusive. Different members of the team bring different perspectives. Why not include them in the discussion even if they will not have a say in the final decision? This increases buy in and improves the quality of decisions made. This resource, for teams that use MBTI, provides a process for maximizing each team member's strengths when it comes time to discuss problems and make decisions.
- Explain the rationale for decisions made. Before a decision is made, work together to determine the decision criteria. Rank order the factors to be used in evaluating options. When a decision is made, use those criteria (determined by the group) to explain the choice made.
- Stand together once a decision has been made. Be a team. Individually, you will not always get the outcome you preferred. Even so, work to understand the decision and support it publicly.
As a team member who builds these skills and models them to others, you will be seen as credible and trustworthy. You'll get more accomplished with less hassle. Your team will appreciate your efforts and work to respond in kind.
Next Steps for Building Effective Teamwork Skills:
- Read examples and stories about other effective teams for inspiration and ideas. 30 guest contributors from around the world are featured in this eBook.
- Download one of our popular infographics for teams. Decision-making for teams provides a step-by-step approach for collaborative decision-making.
- Book a PFPS facilitator today to facilitate critical team meetings, to speak at your leadership or team events, to conduct customized retreats or workshops to improve your team’s effectiveness.
CONNECT2Win is the blog for everyone who works with anyone. Published weekly, the emphasis in 2017 is on the basics of team effectiveness for team leaders and all team members who want to contribute at a higher level.
Deb Calvert is President of People First Productivity Solutions, the company that’s been building organizational strength by putting people first since 2006. Deb’s fortune 500 background in Human Resources, Sales and Operations gives her a unique perspective on working with cross-functional teams. She is a certified Executive Coach, MBTI practitioner, Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge®, bestselling author, instructional designer and gifted facilitator.