Part Three - 4 Essential Elements for Teamwork

4-Emotions-WEBThis is the third of a four part series.

Teamwork or rather high performing teamwork is a much coveted attribute in any business with more than one employee. The need for good teamwork can be by two people, a department, between departments, city wide, nationally and even globally. We hear managers lament, “Why can’t we just get along.” or the ever popular, “If people would just talk things out, everything would be OK.”

Excellent teamwork involves more than just going on the annual retreat, holding hands and singing Kumbaya. There are four elements need to be in place to encourage strong team functionality.

Sensitivity Toward Others:

We are all obligated to maintain positive connections with everyone with whom we work. Communication with different personalities can sometimes be challenging. Nevertheless, understanding that different people come to any interaction with unique perspectives, emotions and communication styles is essential for productivity.

For example, you may have what you perceive to be exciting news to share and you are quite animated in relaying that information. The person with whom you are sharing that news may just smile and say great and get right back to what he or she was doing. Is this person being rude? Not necessarily. Your co-worker may be a person who doesn’t demonstrate his or her emotions. These are the individuals who keep their emotions on an even keel and can best be described as the “steady Eddies” of the team.

The next person you tell may not be jumping up and down with excitement either, but may ask you a lot of questions even before making a comment. Are they just being nosey? Not necessarily. When some people ask what time it is, they don’t just want to know the time. They also want to know how the clock works and why it works that way. Therefore, these individuals will have questions in order to determine if they should be elated, happy for you or angry that the event occurred.

The next person, Jane, may become just as excited as you about your good news. She, in fact, may become so excited that she may seem insincere in reaction. In addition, she may begin to spread the news with you and maybe even before you have the opportunity to get to some people. These are folks who find it difficult to control enthusiasm and because they never meet a stranger, sharing is for everyone.

The next person, Bob, with whom you share your good news, may say something like, “Hey, that’s great stuff. By the way did you get that email from Charles about those new figures on the Benson project?” Bob is not trying to be belittle or show disinterest in your news. He may be genuinely happy for you, but Bob has a focus on and a mind for the bottom line.

It is evident that sensitivity to others’ communication and behavior styles will go a long way in facilitating communication, maintaining a positive environment and keeping productivity moving. Here are five tips to enhance sensitivity toward others.

  1. Don’t make assumptions about others.
  2. Don’t be manipulative
  3. Be open to giving and receiving feedback
  4. Know when “to hold ‘em” – not say anything.
  5. Be tactful

Building such sensitivity to others takes a time to build along with trust. However, approaching each relationship with a certain level of sensitivity and understanding will help you “kick start” building those relationships and allow for building stronger internal and external networks.

Previous: Relating to Others, Sense of Belonging. Final: Surrendering Control.

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