Part One - 4 Essential Elements of Teamwork

Bus Team Talking WEBThis is the first of a four part series on four essential elements of teamwork.

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 that need to be in place to encourage strong team functionality. Here is the first.


  1. Relating to Others: Respect for others is important. However, truly understanding one another is a twin sister to respect. In today’s global workplace, the need for understanding is even more important. In fact, people skills are critical for success in both our professional and personal lives.

We all need cooperation from others to achieve our goals. Making a conscious effort to develop and maintain productive relationships based on understanding, trust and respect, the more motivation, commitment and support will be woven throughout the team.

Working in teams requires understanding and respect for the strengths and weaknesses of others while placing a high priority on the success of your department and organization. In addition, each team member must build a strong relationship with his or her manager(s). Here are 5 tips on how to better relate to others.

  1. If you have a difficult relationship with someone, work to improve it through self-awareness and respect for differences.
  2. Be aware of how your manager and others like to receive information. Some prefer, emails, others prefer phone calls and still others might want to see you face-to-face.
  3. When communication or disseminating information, understand who likes details and who just wants the big picture.
  4. Be enthusiastic about your ideas, but don’t be overbearing or domineering when expressing them.
  5. Don’t interrupt other people and listen to their ideas carefully before you disagree.

Relating to others extends beyond your team. Building good relationships includes those with your manager, vendors, peers (even those at other organizations) and associations. Hmmmmm, this sounds strangely like networking. Relating to others = building relationships = networking and this formula needs to be implemented both internally as well as externally. You may be a member of a team at work, but you must also build a team outside work.

Next: Sense of Belonging.

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