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  1. What great team experiences can teach us

    July 8, 2014 by Jenna

    I love putting teams together for adventure races and sporting events. Whether the teams are people I have known for years or complete newcomers, I have found great value in teamwork in this kind of environment. It brings me a great deal of satisfaction to make it happen.

    I have learned a lot about myself – what my limits are as a team leader, the different personality types of others and different skill sets that a group can collectively put together to achieve a goal.  That is how any great team starts, establishing the goal you want to achieve, and working together to accomplish how to get there.

    I also found that for great teams to reach success, each individual in the team needs to possess the following qualities:

    • Have a good attitude – Showing up to a team event with an open mind and positive attitude can make a world of difference! It allows new ideas to be shared, it keeps other team members motivated and determined and overall positivity spreads. In sporting events, you can get run down and fatigued and it is so important to stay positive and encourage one another so that you don’t give up.
    • Be determined – To not only be willing to take on the task but to follow through. To stay as focused as you can, knowing that what you achieve in the end is worth the hard work and effort that you are putting into it.
    • Develop courage – To face obstacles, to show your true colours (your opinions, passions and sometimes vulnerability) and most importantly, the courage to ask for help when you need it.
    • Know your limits – Both physically and mentally. We want and most often believe that we can ‘do it all’. But in reality, if one person is trying to take on too many tasks at once without proper delegation, they will end up being more of a hindrance than an advantage to your team. You need to feel your best to be your best. Sleep right, eat right and manage tasks so that you are not continually struggling with stress or anxiety.
    • Know when to listen – As a team leader it is so important for me to know the needs of my team members. If they have a problem I want them to feel like I am approachable to talk to regardless of how ‘busy’ I may look. If they have a problem or something has happened I want to know about it to find a solution. Otherwise problems can go unresolved. It also makes individuals feel valued if you allow them to express their opinions. No one deserves favour over the other and each person deserves respect and time.
    • Be observant – Keeping aware of what is going on in your environment. To address potential threats and weaknesses with your goal, to be aware of the feelings and behaviours of your teammates (is anyone run down or require assistance?) and be alert to any changes that may take place.
    • Be respectful/humble to one another – There is no ‘I’ in team so keep in mind the effort of your teammates to help achieve the overall goal. Enforce gratitude and encouragement when needed to one another. Also be sure to keep in mind that if something does not work according to plan that emotions do not get the better of you and that you do not take out those emotions on your fellow team members. We are all human, we all have feelings, and as the saying goes, ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated.’

    What has teamwork taught you so far? Are there any defining qualities/abilities that you think lead a team towards success? What is your best team experience so far?


  2. Why Being a Team Player is Valuable for Workplace Performance

    April 29, 2014 by Jenna

    Each of us invests in our own personal development and strives to perform on an individual level. However, we tend to work in a team environment. Do we invest in our development as an effective team leader? And are you a team player at work?

    As an only child I love setting personal goals and challenges for myself. I like to believe that I am an independent thinker and I don’t mind working on individual tasks on my own. However, I also know that I have a reliable team to which I can approach for assistance, advice and even delegate to if I am overloaded with tasks.

    In my personal life I have had to manage and lead teams in events and trips which involved a lot of organisation. It taught me a lot about myself – my traits, strengths, weaknesses and what I was capable of when I pushed myself to the limits.

    While we are all trying to strive to be a top individual performer, I think it is important that we don’t forget the value of team performance when it comes to reaching successful outcomes at work. A man named Bob Kelly from Demand Media wrote an interesting article on this topic. He covered why teams are important and therefore why it is important that we are all effective team members within the workplace. Here are his reasons:

    Work Efficiency

    Teamwork enables you to accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently than tackling projects individually. Cooperating together on various tasks reduces workloads for all employees by enabling them to share responsibilities or ideas.

    Allow each individual to have a role that suits their specialisation or strength. And also avoid exclusion; try to give everyone an equal amount of responsibility and working together you can collectively encourage one another to get the task done.

    Improved Employee Relations

    What better way to get to know your fellow colleagues and what they are capable of than working on a project together? Building relationships and a positive workplace culture is vital within any organisation and it builds a sense of trust.

    By working together you can share success stories by brainstorming ideas and working together to achieve targets, and if the outcome is not what you expected you can assess areas for improvement in the future.

    Increased Accountability

    Accountability will increase when you know that not only one person relies on you to get the job done, but the whole team! It drives you and encourages you to put in 100% as it will contribute to the overall success of the group. It will also show your reliability and efficiency if team members need your help on future tasks.

    Learning Opportunities

    As a new employee, you can gain knowledge, new ideas and opportunities by working with more experienced employees. It also allows you to become more flexible and adaptable to different situations as you are working with others who may think and work in different ways to you. It opens your mind and your perspective rather than working alone and following the same routine. It is important to face challenges and compromise if need be to reach a successful outcome as a team.

    My final point is that in a team environment, it will make the process run smoothly if you approach a group task with a positive attitude. It can be difficult for some people who are used to working on their own or may be more of an introvert. Having a positive attitude allows you to be more open to opinions and allows you to make a good impression to your team. Be encouraging and supportive in the best way that you can.

    Have you relied on teamwork in the past to help you achieve results? What was the outcome? What did you learn from the experience?




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