Teamwork and collaboration are essential components of good relationships. And it doesn’t matter what your age, business, or circumstances are. Working together to accomplish a goal—especially if it involves enduring a few rough patches—ultimately makes us feel good. It also provides a feeling of purpose. Whether you’re in a business environment, volunteering, or in a marriage, how well you cooperate with one another is important. It can either dissolve the association or build a lifelong relationship.
Getting along with others is an art form.
Good listening skills, open and honest communication, mutual respect, and a desire to create a positive outcome are part of getting along. To get a picture of what I’m talking about think about comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen, magicians Penn and Teller, or fictional friends and lovers from Harry Potter Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Teamwork and collaboration made these individuals more memorable than they could have been alone. Teamwork and collaboration also abound in sports. Without working together, a football team isn’t going to make it to the Super Bowl and a soccer team won’t make it to the World Cup.
For extraverts collaboration seems to come naturally. Extraverts often gravitate towards careers like sales, counseling and teaching that require getting along with customers, clients and students. They also can be found on sports teams or clubs and organizations where they are part of committees and other groups.
If you’re more of an introvert, don’t think you’re off the hook. The skills required for good teamwork and collaboration still apply—just on a smaller scale. Unless you live on a remote island, you still need to get along with at least a few people.
The good news—the skills required for teamwork and collaboration are easy to apply.
- When someone talks to you, stop what you’re doing and pay attention. Don’t interrupt. Listen. If necessary, ask a question or two to make sure you understand what is being said.
- Give whoever is talking the same respect you want. Body language communicates more than words, so avoid eye-rolling, smirking and other negative non-verbal communication.
- Stay calm. If you have concerns or issues with what is being said, ask for time to think before giving an answer.
- Desire a positive outcome. When you begin a project involving others, make sure everyone knows and accepts their responsibility and agrees to meet the various deadlines.
- Acknowledge bumps in the road as they occur. Get input from members of the team and work towards creating win-win solutions.