The Bookbyte Blog
The 10 Essential Soft Skills List: 2 - Teamwork
Teamwork is another soft skill that you absolutely need. Being a team player is paramount to your long-term success within a company, and if it’s evident you’re lacking this crucial skill during your interview, you might as well get up and walk out.
Re-evaluate your teamwork skills now and comb through this blog to understand the five most important parts that make up teamwork.
Accountability & Integrity
To be a great team player you need to own up to your mistakes, follow through on your commitments, maintain professional standards, and uphold the company’s ethics—and your own of course! As part of a team, your actions affect and represent everyone at the company—not just you.
Within any team, there will be conflicts from time to time, and whatever the conflict may be, there’s a way to handle it constructively. One of the most effective tools for conflict resolution is practicing empathy and really hearing and understanding the other person. When you show this kind of attention and respect, most times, it will be reciprocated. They want to be heard just as much as you do. Use their perspective to re-evaluate your own, and if you’re still at odds, explain your rationale in a way that incorporates and remedies their concerns. If you can’t do this, well maybe your rationale isn’t so...rational.
Another effective tool for conflict resolution is adopting a problem solver mindset which, of course, applies to a lot more than just conflict resolution. It’s okay to highlight problems (and you should), but if you’re not also trying to find a way to fix it, what good are you? To help illustrate, imagine you’re stranded at sea, with a couple of others, in a wooden paddle boat. You notice a small hole in the bottom letting in water. Are you the person that points out the hole with the same finger that could be used to plug it?
Giving and Receiving Feedback
[The following is limited only to feedback regarding one’s work as this is more relevant for most entry-level positions.]
Giving and receiving feedback sounds easy, right? What if you poured your heart and soul into a project and someone said, “we can’t use it” or “this doesn’t work”, or even “what exactly are we looking at?” or “this is way off”? Well, for one, the person giving feedback should never say just that...but we’ll cover that in a second.
If you’re the one receiving feedback, you need to separate yourself from your work. Yes, you did do it, it does reflect you, but it is a work in progress (just like you). You don’t live and die by your work. You want to be better; you want your work to be better. You need feedback. Think of feedback as XP points or leveling up, if that helps. Your ability to receive feedback will not only help you grow as a person and as a professional, but it will be a refreshing look to your boss and co-workers (who may have been apprehensive to provide feedback).
Now, if you’re the one giving feedback, don’t rush to speak. Slow down...Really examine their work...then start off with the positive. Speak to all the work’s strengths and how they contribute to or elevate the work. Next, the more delicate piece: pointing out its weaknesses. Just as the person receiving feedback should separate themselves from the work, your feedback should address only the work. You need to identify any weaknesses (be thorough for their sake) and consider framing them as opportunities to make the work even stronger. Look for silver linings.
Keep your feedback objective and avoid starting off with these words, "I don’t like this...”. If you’re going to provide feedback, you need to leave out your personal feelings; it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. If it still satisfies the objectives, then your subjective input is useless. Instead, say something like this, “In its current state, X isn’t working because... [insert your concrete reasoning here].”
Also, avoid telling them what you think or don’t think. When you use language like, ‘I think...’ you’re basically saying you don’t really know. So, everything that follows, ‘I think...’ isn’t worth much.
Contribution & Collaboration
If you played sports, then you’ve probably already heard the spiel and it does still apply in the workplace. As part of a team, your contributions and ability to collaborate (or work together) affect everyone. If you have trouble working with others, you’re going to diminish the team’s effectiveness. The same applies if you are a poor contributor.
The best advice here is to make sure you understand every team member’s role ahead of time and discuss with your team what their expectations are for you and for the other team members. What are your deliverables or expected contributions and then what are your teammates? Will there be any partnering up? If so, make sure you are cooperative and do your share of contributing. Doing this removes ambiguity and ensures you’re set up for success. Plus, it’s a nice way to help manage everyone’s expectations.
Chances are, you’re already a solid team player and this was just a nice review. Either way now’s a good time to start thinking about how you can highlight your teamwork skills in your resume and portfolio.
Courses you can take
If you wish to continue building your teamwork skills, consider taking the online course below.
Estimated Time to complete: 15 hours