Top 5 things I learned from working in a team are skills I use daily
You know what they say: teamwork makes the dream work.
That’s very true. The biggest mistake anyone can make is consider themselves a one man show. Even the most dedicated and hardworking employee will eventually reach his or her limits.
Thinking you can do it all by yourself is a scam. Just like imagining you can achieve fame and glory overnight. As seductive as it sounds, the reality is far from that. Success is just putting one step in front of the other, again and again. One stair up, at a time, just a bit further into your goal.
But what if there were no stairs, no ladder to climb? Imagine there’s a big jar of cookies on the top-drawer shelf, how could you reach that?
Maybe you could ask for a favor from someone tall enough to reach for the jar. Maybe there would be someone short but muscly to lift you up. Or maybe the only other one person around would be someone just as you, with the same lost look in their eyes. Then you could both go get some cookies from the supermarket nearby, and at least you’ll have company.
Where there is more than one person involved, the probability of innovation to happen increases. Whether it’s a large group or just a duo, it’s still a team. Bringing together different backgrounds and ways of thinking will throw off sparks. Even compatibility and likeness will make you click in unexpected ways. Scooby & Shaggy, Mario and Luigi, Han Solo plus Chewbacca, they can all vouch for me.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes on many occasions. Teamwork = innovation. And innovation is what makes a business work like a lean, mean machine.
But teamwork is also many other things. For me personally, it is an occasion to practice some great skills, that I learned one hundred percent by working with others.
Some were scary to acquire, some were fun. But all of them are worth every little discomfort I went through. Let’s put it all out there, in no precise order.
1. Reaching goals 🥇
Many people abandon goals because they’re just too big and scary. But when you’re working with others, it’s easier to break them into small tasks. And along the way of accomplishing them together with your colleagues, you won’t even notice when you got to your much-wanted holy grail.
This is not only because everybody has a contribution to the final result. Making yourself accountable to your team mates is one of the best ways to reach your goals.
Talk about your intentions. Spread the word. Let people around you know what you are thinking about. Dream big and don’t be ashamed about it. It might be that in the end, you’ll get even higher than expected.
Speaking your mind is essential for success and happens to be closely knit to teamwork. Which gets my right to my next point.
2. Public speaking 🎤
One aspect that many of us are afraid of - including me as well - is public speaking. However, teamwork helped me overcome this fear. The solution was to participate in team meetings, where I had to speak in front of 5, 10 or even 30 people. The fact that I had to structure my ideas focusing on the important things, not only helped me clear out stress, but also made me more efficient.
And what’s a business without efficiency? Not much. Yield, profit, margin – all are efficiency-related terms, and all are relevant benchmarks entrepreneurs use to set their way straight, and strategically prepare for the future.
3. Responsibility 🤓❤️
Teamwork is not just a group process - it's a personal responsibility and skill. Responsibility means to completely own - rather than deny, blame, or rationalize - your situation. Which can be difficult at times. I worked with various kinds of people. Some were managers, team leaders, had a position of authority. Some used it, some didn’t. But that only made me more flexible and solution-oriented.
I’m not a fan of novelty, but more on the OCD side. Haven’t changed my hairdresser in the past 13 years, and that says a lot. But still, working in smaller and larger teams, changing groups as I swapped projects, I learned to adapt to all kinds of situations. That forced me to make unexpected decisions in order to carry out my duty.
I got to see for myself how my share of all duties impacts the whole. Good or bad choices, each have a say in the performance of the team.
Nobody is irreplaceable. But as long as you are part of a team, the others depend on you. So know you are needed. Over time, this might change your perspective in profound and meaningful ways.
4. Diversity & inclusion 👱🏻 👩🦱 🧓
Teamwork helps highlight how our different talents will help in achieving a goal that is greater than any of the contributors to the project. This is why a good leader offers custom support, different for each and every one, depending on their own skills and professional development.
This also comes as a reminder for managers: to build a solid foundation for teamwork, manifest genuine interest in the career growth of each employee. It’s actually an investment in the future of the company, if you think about it.
So maybe start with a simple thank you - sometimes words can weigh more than we think. Thanking the team members for the efforts and results obtained will give them satisfaction, motivation, confidence.
The greatest leaders I met and worked closely with always empowered me to reach my next level of development. And this is what I now cultivate in all my work relationships, as well. It warms me up on the inside to know I helped someone push a bit further their career trajectory.
5. Speed 🏃⚡
Let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember that basic arithmetic homework we all postponed as much as possible. Except if you had a secret passion for logic and the brain, which I had.
As you definitely recall, the problems sounded something like: if Mark & Maria have 5 apples, each of them eats one, how many are there left? I won’t tell you the answer, figure it out for yourself.
But what if Jim shows up as well, and his twin sister, Jill? And then their good neighbor comes to join the party of 4 (socially distanced appropriately, of course). The summary will be something like this: 5 people, 5 apples, and none left in the basket.
But suppose those apples are actually work tasks. Then for sure you wouldn’t mind having Mark, Maria, Jim & Jill over to help you.
So keep that in mind.
These are just some of the things you can learn from working as a team. After being part of different teams, now I can adapt to different situations, I’m more empathetic, I can better manage my time and a lot of other things that can be useful in new environments or circumstances.
But what about you, what’s your take on this? Let’s figure it out together how teamwork can help, and it will be a win-win process, regardless of the conclusion we reach.