Your Life: Working with others

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Working with others

In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, the ability to work well with others has never been more important. Complex projects and demanding deadlines are the norm in most work environments and many tasks can no longer be done by one person working alone. Today, it takes teamwork just to get the job done.

Because teamwork is such an integral part of the modern work experience, knowing how to work co-operatively and productively in a group is an essential life skill. Understanding what it takes to be a good ‘team player’ will help you meet your goals at work and gain the respect and support of others in all aspects of your life.

Group dynamics
Groups are formed in almost every situation where people work together. Groups can be either formal or informal. Formal groups are created to complete specific tasks (e.g. to design a new piece of equipment) and informal groups come together voluntarily, often over shared interests or abilities (e.g. a lunch-time power walking club).

A successful group dynamic develops when group members:

share a common goal or vision
put the needs of the group before their own
agree on targets and priorities
contribute different strengths and skills
are inclusive and welcoming, and respect the contributions of others

Throughout your lifetime, you will be a member of many formal and informal groups, each with a different goal and purpose. Whenever you are involved in a group, either inside or outside of work, your responsibilities should be the same – to be supportive and helpful, to offer solutions instead of criticism, to make valuable contributions and to create opportunities for others to make valuable contributions too.

Good interpersonal skills
Whether you are working in a team of two or 20, good interpersonal skills are invaluable. A good team player:

is a good listener
is considerate of others and respects their opinions and feelings
values the contributions of others, respecting that everyone brings different strengths and abilities to the group
is assertive, without being overbearing
thinks before speaking
knows how to give and receive feedback constructively
fulfills commitments to the group and meets agreed deadlines
respects other people’s time by being punctual
asks for help when needed and willingly offers assistance to others
communicates well and keeps others informed of progress
makes every effort to resolve conflict peacefully
brings a positive attitude to the group
makes the best of every situation

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