How to Work Well in a Team Environment

Three Methods:Communicating Well in MeetingsWorking on Projects TogetherBeing Professional

A team environment is any setting that focuses on everyone working together rather than individually, particularly in the workplace. Whatever role you prefer to fill, it is likely that you will occasionally encounter situations that call for teamwork. It's especially important to learn to work well in teams if you land a job that focuses on a team environment. You'll need to learn how to communicate well in meetings, work together on projects, and be professional in the workplace, and in fact, you'll likely need these skills in any office you work in.

Method 1
Communicating Well in Meetings

  1. Image titled Excel in a Retail Job Step 9
    Let everyone contribute to the discussion. When you're meeting together, it's important that everyone has a chance to speak. Try not to cut off your peers, and if you notice other people getting cut off, speak up to let each person have their say.[1]
    • For example, you could say, "Sorry, Rob, I'm not sure John was through. Did you have something else to say, John?"
  2. Image titled Prepare for a Job Interview Step 10
    Listen well. In addition, it's important to actually hear what your peers are saying. Often, you may be thinking hard about the project and want to jump in with what you have to say. However, in that time you spent thinking, you haven't heard what someone else is saying. Make sure you take time to hear each other out, as otherwise, you'll never be on the same page.[2]
    • If you find your mind drifting on an idea, jot a quick note down, then refocus on what other people are saying.
    • Remember to make eye contact with the person who is speaking and lean in towards him or her. Put away anything that might distract you as well, such as your cell phone or laptop.
    • You can also try nodding your head while the person is talking to show the person that you are listening.
    • Avoid interrupting the person while he or she is speaking. Wait until he or she has finished to ask questions or make comments.[3]
  3. Image titled Delegate Step 8
    Don't shut down ideas. You may be set on one idea. In fact, you may think it's the only way to work through a situation your team is facing or a problem you're working on. However, you can't just shut down other people's ideas. For one, it will keep them from wanting to speak up later. More importantly, someone may have a better idea if you give it a chance to develop.[4]
    • Sometimes, an idea can sound outrageous at first, and you'll want to reject it immediately. It may take you a little while to warm up to the idea and see that it actually could work, particularly if it's out of the box.
    • Ask more questions about the idea to better understand the logistics. Even if the idea doesn’t work, it could be a springboard for other ideas.
  4. Image titled Resign Gracefully Step 4
    Draw in the holdouts. You'll likely find that there's someone on your team who doesn't quite know how to work well on a team. They may be shy, or they may have never been taught how to work with others. If that's the case, try to draw them out.[5]
    • Invite them to speak out when they're quiet in group meetings. Ask them questions to get them talking.
    • In addition, figure out what they're good at, and then propose that they work on certain tasks to play to their skills. You can even use flattery to draw them in, such as, "You are so good at the details. Would you mind putting together the spreadsheet for this project, Jen?"

Method 2
Working on Projects Together

  1. Image titled Be a Secret Agent Step 1
    Ask questions and seek to understand. It is important to ensure that you understand what the speaker is trying to express. One way to ensure that you are on the same page as someone else is to ask questions. This may help you to avoid conflicts due to misunderstandings.
    • You can use questions to help you understand something that a coworker has just said to you. For example, if your coworker has just explained a task to you, then you could say, "So, I think you're saying _____. Is that right?" If you are not on the same page, then your coworker can clarify his or her meaning for you.
    • You can also practice empathetic listening to maintain good work relationships with your coworkers, such as by echoing what the speaker says.[6] For example, if a coworker says, "I'm having a terrible day," then you might say, "You're having a terrible day? What's going on?" By asking a question, you are demonstrating to the speaker that you have heard him or her and that you would like to know more.
  2. Image titled Say Goodbye to Coworkers Step 3
    Provide updates regularly. Good communication is essential to working well in a team environment. You need to be able to talk about what you need from your coworkers, as well as discuss the progress of community projects regularly to figure out what you've accomplished already and what you still need to accomplish.[7]
    • You can't be passive-aggressive when working with others in a team environment. Passive-aggressiveness just leads to people being upset. Confront problems head-on as they arise in a professional manner.
    • For example, if you don't like the way something was done, the passive-aggressive response would be to make a slightly condescending comment or to go back and do it the way you wanted it in the first place. The professional approach would be to discuss why you think another way is better, and then defer to your peers if your idea is rejected.[8]
  3. Image titled Be a Secret Agent Step 3
    Do what you say you're going to do. Reliability is one of the main components of being a good team member. If you don't follow through with your work, you're dragging the rest of the team down. Plus, you're team members won't trust you with any work in the future, and your performance could get back to your boss.[9].
  4. Image titled Become a Software Engineer Step 5
    Find your niche. Everyone has something to contribute to a team. You know what you're good at, and you can use that to make the team better. For instance, if you are good at organizing, offer to help oversee the paperwork for the project to help keep it on the right track.[10]
  5. Image titled Say Goodbye to Coworkers Step 12
    Be willing to do the dirty work. While you should play to your strengths, you're not always going to be given the prize jobs in group work. No matter what task you're working on together, everyone is going to need to do some of the grunt work. Be willing to dig in and do what needs to be done to finish the project.[11]
  6. Image titled Handle an Employee's Attendance Problems Step 2
    Don't criticize a method just to criticize it. That is, if someone does something a way you wouldn't do it, analyze the situation before you jump in to "fix" it. You may realize that the method they are using is just as effective, even if it's not what you would do in the same situation.[12]

Method 3
Being Professional

  1. Image titled Succeed in Network Marketing Step 16
    Be respectful. Of course, you're not always going to like everyone you work with, and you certainly aren't required to like them. However, it is important to treat the people in your workplace with respect and professionalism. Throwing fits or getting in arguments with people you don't like is unprofessional and will slow down the team's work significantly.[13]
  2. Image titled Show Employees Your Appreciation Step 3
    Take the time you need. Sometimes, you may want to rush to get certain tasks done. However, in a team environment, that can lead to mistakes or an ineffective work process because you're not taking the time to work with other people or communicate what you're getting done. Make sure to spend the proper amount of time to do your work well while working with others at the same time.[14]
  3. Image titled Resign Gracefully Step 19
    Realize it's always your job. When you're not in a team environment, your job description may be fairly well defined. In a team environment, you may need to jump in to help in areas that aren't exactly in your job description because someone else needs the help. Being willing to help out makes the group work more efficiently and builds good will.[15]
    • In addition, jumping in when you see a need looks good to your boss, earning you brownie points, which is never a bad thing.
    • Also, you may find yourself needing help in the future, and if you've given help in the past, others will be more willing to offer you help when you need it.
  4. Image titled Become a Software Engineer Step 6
    Show enthusiasm. If you're excited, you'll get others excited. When you're working together, that excitement can lead to better results, as you're all motivated to do your best on the projects you're working on. On the other hand, if you constantly criticize or talk down about a project, that can be catching, too, and it can bring a project down.[16]
    • For example, don't start out the day by saying, "I wish we didn't have to work through these ridiculous budget reports." Instead, you could say, "I know a budget report isn't everyone's cup of tea, but just think, going through these budget reports means we get the money we need to do the projects we love."
  5. Image titled Choose a Role Model Step 8
    Take time to get to know each of your peers. Remember that no two people are alike, and that each team player has strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. Knowing what makes your teammates tick is necessary to develop strong and productive working relationships, where you complement each other rather than work against each other.
    • Spend some time each day talking to your coworkers. Ask how they are and really listen to their answers. Let them talk about their home lives if they feel like talking about them.
  6. Image titled Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home Step 4Bullet1
    Don't steal credit. It can be tempting to take credit for other people's work. While it creates animosity no matter what environment you're in, it's especially detrimental in a team environment, as it can create major rifts. On the other hand, offering up who deserves credit for each part of the project goes a long way to building bridges.[17]
    • Offering up who deserves credit will make others feel appreciated, and feeling appreciated for hard work can help create the feeling of being on the same team.

Article Info

Categories: Interacting with Colleagues