The better you know your team, the better your team will be for you. This stands whether you’re the team leader or a team member. So how can you ensure you know your team well enough to help it succeed – and to allow it to help you succeed too?
- Make Time
In order to get to know your colleagues better you need to invest time in the process. This will allow you to get into somebody’s space. This should lead to the outcome of you learning more about one another.
Listening is one of those skills we all think we’re good at but the truth is we can always be better. If we listen harder we understand more about our colleagues’ needs and how we may be able to support them.
- Ask Questions
Be curious about your team. Ask team members questions like “what brought you here, to this role/organisation?”, “how long have you being doing this kind of work?” and “why have you stayed in this job?” These questions help you to understand people and their motivations, what they get out of their work, what interests them, what’s important to them and how that might impact on you in the work you do.
- Say Thank You
Be generous in thanking and appreciating others. It’s an easy thing to do. It’s an even easier thing to forget to do. Being generous, courteous and a good colleague will help you grow closer to the team.
- Show Respect
The more you know and understand about the people in your team, the more you will appreciate your colleagues. Always remember – they have as much right to be a member of this team as you do. They were selected via a recruitment process and have performed well enough in their job to still be here. They may not be like you but they have a right to be with you. That alone deserves respect.
- Offer Help
If we’re paying attention, we will recognise when the peaks and troughs are happening for our colleagues. We can identify the times when the team requires more hands to the deck and when individual colleagues need help – and the more we help our team at critical moments, the more we find out about how it behaves and operates in times of busyness, pressure, stress and so on.
- Ask for Help
You can not only find out a lot about people by helping them but also by accepting help from them. Show a degree of vulnerability by asking for help when you need it. If you’ve been actively trying to get to know your teammates better, they will recognise that and be willing to help you.
- Remember the Benefits
Knowing that it’s worth getting to know your team is great motivation for doing so. Each member of your team is in some way going to be as helpful to you as you are to them, either in the here and now or perhaps in a future where you’re no longer both in the same team but still in the same network.
Working in a team is a privilege. It is not always easy and it is often hugely challenging. When you work in a really terrific team it is one of the best feelings of your life. It is worth pondering on these ways to get to know your team better in order to make it better. There’s lots that we can do to acquaint ourselves with the people we work with every day.
About the Author
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition and the Career Ignition Club. Position Ignition is one of the UK’s leading career development and career planning companies. The Career Ignition Club offers a range of career support tools, advice and e-learning materials for its members. Follow Simon North and his team on twitter @PosIgnition and get more advice from him on their Career Advice Blog.