The Essentials of Teamwork: Being a Part and Not the Whole

Posted by: Pulse Young Professionals on Tuesday, October 7, 2014
We all are a part of some kind of team:  at work, in our families, or in a committee or organization.  I think it’s safe to say that on a daily basis, we are working with others in most areas of our life.  If you’re an executive or manager, you are working with all departments of the company.  If you’re married, you’re working with your spouse continually on schedules, finances, and daily responsibilities.  And if you serve on a committee, you are responsible for giving input and pulling your weight.  We all make up a part of a team. The most important thing of being a part of a team is knowing your particular responsibility in the group.  If you swerve into someone else’s “lane” of work and start taking over a task, your team will get frustrated and be unproductive (and not to mention that the team member whose toes you stepped on will be offended).  On the contrary, if you don’t participate at all in the group, it makes more work for someone else and thus, the team is, yet again, unproductive.  Use each other’s strengths and weaknesses to determine who handles which task.  After gaining a full understanding of your individual task, have the respect to stick to it.  All members of the team must respect and trust each other. Good communication is vital to group synergy.  Everyone should know their part, as well as the other members’ responsibilities.  The entire group needs to fully understand the overall goal and how to get there.  Teams are made up of a diverse group of people; being open to all ideas and suggestions shows cooperation and inclusivity.  Make sure that there are consistent processes in the team and be sure to follow those closely.  Understanding the roles and goals of the team will help to keep everyone on the same page. What I think is the key to a great team is:  each participant committing to their responsibility and sticking to that role; all team members being competent and capable to contribute; everyone following through and completing tasks on-time; all members coming together to assess the current state of the team/project and plan for future progress. I love to be autonomous, but when you are included as part of a progressive, effective team, you can learn beyond yourself – and it’s more fun!  Teamwork is not only a very common portion of our jobs, it’s also a way to improve.  Expose yourself to diverse people and ideas.  The world wouldn’t be any fun if we were all cookie-cutter versions!  A great learning opportunity always lies within a group project or activity. The dictionary defines Synergy as “the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts”.  When we find ways to come together, and when the notion of teamwork really succeeds, a team can be more innovative, more impressive, and more useful. Let’s not be the whole.  Let’s be a part. Brittany Baughman is the Community Relations Coordinator at Webster University in Greenville.  She is responsible for the recruiting and public relations activities of the campus, as well as managing social media, planning all campus events, and implementing local marketing initiatives.  She and her husband, Jonathan, live in Greenville and stay busy spoiling their 1-year-old Lab/Spaniel mix, Darla.  Brittany serves on the 2014 PULSE Marketing Committee as the YP Perspective blogger and coordinates the blog posting for PULSE.

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