“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is in the team.” – Phil Jackson
You’ve heard it before, no (wo)man is an island. From the workplace to life in general, the truth is that if you have an “only I can fix it” attitude, you’re just making life more difficult for yourself.
When it comes to solving life’s problems, we as moms may sometimes (ok, most of the time) feel like we can solve everything, but we can solve our problems more quickly and with less stress when we accept others’ help. As hard as it may be to give up total control, you and everyone else around you will be better off if you work as a team.
So, if you have a partner (in business or in life), then you have someone on your team. While building a team may be easy, maintaining it is a whole other story. Here are some skills that are key to putting the “we” in team.
The 3 Cs: Skills for Successful Teamwork
Since you’ll be working together—at work, in business, or in your household—effective communication is the most important skill to master for successful teamwork. Listening to each other helps show support and lets everyone know what page you’re on (hopefully the same one!).
For example, if your husband has an important meeting the following morning, pay attention to his request for help and come up with a solution together. You may have to drop the kids off in the morning, but perhaps your partner can pick them up in the afternoon. If one team member doesn’t listen to the other, there will likely be serious miscommunication, which can lead to unintended mistakes (like leaving the kids stranded at school!).
How you communicate matters just as much. According to an article by Harvard Business Review, how we communicate is the most important factor in determining team success. So, be aware not just of the words you’re using, but also of your body language and the tone of your speech when you’re communicating.
As long as more than one person is involved in problem-solving, there are bound to be a few conflicts along the way. Compromise in most situations isn’t a bad thing, it’s a necessity—it demonstrates that you’re putting the good of the team ahead of your own wants. So, how do you compromise?
Start by understanding what the other person is trying to say. Put yourself in their shoes and make an effort to understand their point of view. Oftentimes we are simply listening to answer—impatient to get our point across—rather than listening to understand.
For example, when hunting for a new office location, your business partner may want to stay closer to the highway because it’s more convenient for her drive from home; in contrast, you may want your office to be located in the heart of downtown because it’s closer to the business district and better for client meetings. Although there are obvious benefits to both locations, the compromise here could be to choose an office location somewhere that’s not too far of a drive from each of your homes but remains convenient for most of your clients.
Don’t you just hate it when you’re in a team at work and there’s that one person who doesn’t pull their weight? Don’t be that person—even with your spouse at home! Actively participate in decision-making and performing tasks, even if it’s just deciding who will take out the trash or run to pick-up the pizza for dinner (yes, we all occasionally revert to pizza night when life is hectic!). This makes you a more valuable team member and earns your partner’s respect.
Even when you’re super busy with work, don’t use it as an excuse to completely tune out at home. Letting your spouse do all the “heavy lifting” at home will only result in resentment, and we all know it’s pretty much downhill from there!
Cooperation may also mean taking turns. For example, you may decide to work full-time while your significant other pursues their education, and then switch when it’s your turn. This way, everyone feels respected.
The Value of Teamwork: Succeed Together
Teamwork is about problem-solving together for the benefit of the team. No one has to lose in order for each individual to win. So, rather than shutting out or excluding other people’s ideas or opinions, be open to other ways of doing things. Try to think positive: Being part of a team means more great ideas, which equal more solutions!
With these 3 skills, you and your team will be well on your way to success together—whatever that looks like for you.