We have all witnessed in one form or another the incredible transformative power of teamwork at the core of any endeavor. When people work together to complete a common task, they achieve remarkable results. Whether your team is all in the same room or spread out across the world, what is key is to create the culture that encourages collaboration to drive success.
All companies, departments, team members or crew members can work together effectively if they apply the right collaborative skills and prioritize teamwork training. By breaking down the silos between departments, workers can excel in their skillsets to drive success. Teamwork is improved when the workload is divided among available resources, when the workflow is discussed and planned, and when everyone has an overview of the project.
Based on his expertise of nearly 3 decades of experience of running interactive and immersive programs on collaboration around the globe, keynote speaker, workshop leader, philanthropist and performer Doug Manuel provided input for this article.
London-born Manuel has had a rich and varied career path which started out as a season worker in the Swiss and French alps in the winter, and a beach boy in Cannes at the summer before becoming a runner at the Cannes Film Festival. That led him to discovering his true calling.
His experience in Cannes drove him to pursue a career in documentary filmmaking, and he soon found himself making documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. He worked on a broad range of programming from light entertainment to current affairs, topical documentaries and wildlife. In 1997 he had a double introduction to Africa – he worked on a documentary about African elephants that took him across the continent. In parallel Manuel attended a djembe workshop. This experience awakened something in him which led him to quit film making and travel to West Africa to study the djembe in Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea. He has been a dedicated student of West African music ever since.
During this time, Manuel realised that he had a knack for establishing rapport and bringing people together. As a result, he developed a new career for himself as a keynote speaker and corporate trainer running in-person and online courses on collaboration. He also organizes and runs leadership retreats in West Africa, and develops his charity Lighting Up Lives. In his spare time Manuel created a stage show ‘Do You Speak Djembe?’ which was nominated for 2 JEFF Awards.
He’s worked with Oprah Winfrey, TED, TEDx, TED Global, leading business schools in Europe, the US and China, as well as hundreds of fortune 500 companies. Manuel’s interactive keynotes combine story telling with collective music making and relevant mind body awareness exercises to ensure engagement and embody learning.
Based on Manuel’s wealth of experience, here are some ways of working together as a team that can benefit your career.
In a collaborative setting, each member plays an integral role. To have an efficient and cohesive team, effective communication is crucial. It takes more than just a well-planned executed message exchange at the beginning of a project to achieve any goal. On going dialogue as you navigate the course to success is essential.
Just as with an orchestra it is key that every team member is seen, heard, and understood when spending hours with teammates brainstorming, analysing details, and turning abstract ideas into reality. No one person should ever dominate the airtime of a meeting.
For a successful team, KPI’s are essential. But there are certain critical skills that are actually incredibly hard to measure.
For example the quality of an individual’s actions and interactions with others, or their capacity for empathy.
Every team member contributes to the team by providing these important attributes. The ability to interact effectively with others both in person or online is possibly the most valuable asset to any group.
A teammate’s introversion or reserved demeanour shouldn’t prevent them from not being given the space to share their ideas. It might be that an introvert doesn’t like to draw attention to themselves, but it also might be that they can contribute exceptionally well-researched and technically-intricate aspects which could be entirely important to the success of a project. On the other hand, it may be beneficial that the event or meeting facilitator be someone who is more gregarious and charismatic provided that they know how to listen and do not dominate the meeting.
We have probably all experienced when a team member is rude, overbearing or dominant, and the negative effect this this can have on the whole group. If a team member perceives that he or she is being judged or patronized, he or she may be less likely to share or open up. The result is inevitably a non-harmonious work place and consequently low productivity.
How people talk to one another
The workplace becomes more collaborative when everyone is allowed to share their thoughts and ideas. It is critical that team members are given the space to be authentic, and it’s vitally important that people feel comfortable asking for help. They should be encouraged to offer their opinions, and to both receive and give advice. Questions should be asked and answered as thoroughly as possible by the team or collaborative leader when a solution is required or when a decision is necessary. These are the steps that need to be taken for people to feel valued.
When managers take the initiative from just the transactional to a more human approach to teamwork, they inspire greater cooperation among their employees. When these ground rules are established the office becomes a comfortable “nest” for employees to work together productively. When a manager, superior, or leader opens up about their own personal journey or struggle, it encourages a safe space for authenticity. It’s not about turning the work place into a therapy group, on the contrary. But by showing vulnerability team members are encouraged to delve deeper and offer their own perspectives.
Sharing can be as simple as showing a snapshot from the weekend or as bold as admitting to a major blunder made at work that turned into a moment of learning.
Furthermore, open communication is enhanced when the culture of an organization becomes a priority. Despite our busy days it’s important to hold regular online or in person get-togethers and encourage team members to just be in touch with each other with genuine concern. Care big.
Methods of giving and receiving comments
There can be no learning without criticism. One of the most important aspects of teamwork is giving and receiving constructive feedback. Be sure to differentiate the difference between serving up a shit sandwich and offering constructive feedback or another point of view.
We can all use some encouragement and gratitude
These are fantastic concepts that should be encouraged! Dig deeper into them! Practice them! Gratitude and encouragement need to be included as a part of constructive criticism. When they are constructive criticism can strengthen what’s already there rather than tearing it down. A strong and unbreakable feedback loop can be established when team members learn to put aside their egos and see the value in their teammates’ perspectives and support.
What makes a leader effective
When the team’s leadership is solid, everyone is able to work to their maximum potential. The best management creates the environment within which employees can flourish while also providing the framework necessary to foster teamwork and a sense of personal responsibility. In order to feel satisfied with their work, most people will strive for excellence. But to succeed in a project s team leader must have a good overview of who in their team can do what, as well as their team member’s strengths and weaknesses. That allows the leader to delegate tasks while providing guidance and minimal micromanagement. Leading by example and trust is of the essence.
How many take responsibility
Every project will face inevitable setbacks and challenges and whilst it is the responsibility for each team member to manage their own emotions and to build resilience, sharing in an authentic way and asking for support is actually a valuable skillset. It is often easier to apportion blame than seek support, but when individuals know their own limits, asking for help is a sure way for teams to feel the achievement of a common task. Taking responsibility is not about doing everything on your own, it’s rather about personal leadership. It’s important that every team member gets to know themselves better than anyone else in the team. That is the only path for growth, learning, improvement, a sustainable team and collective synergy.