When referring to teams, we love using part-whole analogies, which signify how integral each part is for building a vibrant whole. Just like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. If even a single piece goes missing, or is broken, the puzzle stays incomplete. Such is the power of each individual that adds to a larger team. But as you know, the formation of a successful team isn’t automatic. The key factor here are its players and their dedicated effort of showing up in their best form. That is what team work is all about. To help you keep the wheels of team work rolling effortlessly, we suggest two practices:

  1. Give credit where it’s due. This may sound like an obvious statement. But we really need to walk the talk here. Sharing credit is an extremely powerful motivator. Everyone feels acknowledged for their contribution. That is why movies always showcase the names of all people who support its completion. The list may seem tedious or never ending, but the sense of pride and fulfilment associated with it is priceless. Therefore, whether it is support from cross-functioning teams that help you complete your annual report, or a colleague’s feedback that made your project pitch crisp and impactful, a little ‘thank you’ will go a long way in making you a trust-worthy team player. This practice is also going to make you a desirable team member for collaborative initiatives, because everyone will feel safe, seen and heard.In organizations, usually it is the senior executives who get a lot of air time at team meetings, product launches, or retreats. These spaces provide a great opportunity for leaders to either share their air time, or create visibility for the work of all team members. Imagine the degree of cohesion this would lead to!
  1. Create healthy boundaries. At the workplace, boundaries are as important as annual budgets. They help us create a learning zone we enjoy being part of. Workplace boundaries can take various forms, like the ones listed below:
  • Expressing one’s comfort or discomfort with work dynamics.
  • Learning to say no to work overtime or beyond one’s bandwidth.
  • Limiting the information shared about one’s personal life.
  • Agreeing to disagree when it comes to ideas/ opinions.
  • Asking people before adding onto their ideas.
  • Giving unsolicited advice or support.

Wondering how it makes you a good team player? It provides people an example of what well-functioning work relationships look like. It may feel a little clunky to set these boundaries and maintain them initially. Not everyone will have them. But it sure does help life at work flourish.

Team work as a practice is as dynamic as the team members involved. These two practices are primarily aimed at making you more effective and productive at work. There could be more which you practice and model. What are your secrets for successful team work?

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