Teamwork Philosophies

Through my time as an Intercultural Aide, teamwork has become my norm. Instead of dreading teamwork, I have learned some team philosophies that help people become natural leaders at the same time.

Use “We” Language When Things Go Well

Every time the team has success, use “we.” What I mean by this is to emphasis team success over individual success. Your team knows the work that you put in, and you don’t need to make yourself shine within the group. A strong team has a group of people who see themselves as a unit rather than people all trying to be the “best”–or even worse, a team where one or two people do all the work.

Use “I” Language When Things Go Wrong

Whenever things go wrong, it is best to consider your shortcomings before you even begin looking at the shortcomings of your other team members. When you begin by taking accountability for things you could have done better, then your team may begin looking for where they could improve as well. This creates a forward thinking team more willing to accept constructive feedback.

Ask For Feedback

On that note, sometimes it’s better to ask how you can improve before problems arise. It’s good to be open to feedback to improve your work individually and on a team.

Set Specific Goals

Creating specific goals will bring your team to success. It can be easy for groups to push things off until last minute, but the best teams delegate smalls tasks along the way. With specific goals and expectations, it is easier for teams to move forward with trust and harder for team members to slip under the radar doing nothing.

Hold People Accountable

With specific goals, you can hold people accountable early on. Confronting a coworkers at the end of a project is not helpful and will only cause resentment. However, respectfully acknowledging that teamwork requires flexibility and completion of goals creates a transparent and accountable team.

Know When You Don’t Need To Lead

Sometimes a team comes with multiple great leaders. If another person seems to be doing a good job leading, it is ok to play a different role on the team for the greatest outcome possible. A big part of being a leader is setting people up to accomplish their best. It’s ok to take a back seat to make that happen.

Bring Out Everyone’s Strengths

We want every individual to shine on a team, so that the whole team can shine. By learning your team member’s strengths, everyone can work on what they do best and know how to support your teammates when they have to do something they are more uncomfortable with.

Be a Solution Provider Not a Problem Pointer

Going on and on about how there are problems with a project or team is not helpful. Providing a solution to a problem is helpful. Be the helpful person.

Be Free

Get to know your team and laugh with them. This helps build trust and connection, so the work environment is positive. People can sense and appreciate when a team has good vibes.