When I talk to our students about Teamwork I point out to them that the most important team that we are on is our FAMILY. No other team needs the cooperation and vision that our family needs for long term success of all members. Of course the leaders of that team is Mom & Dad. While every team leader has different responsibilities, there are a couple of foundational standards that are true for all teams and especially families.
1. Be consistent. Whether it is setting the rules, the making of decisions or in keeping our word, consistency is one standard that team members depend on.
2. Be clear. Set forth what the values, morals and ethics are for your family. Setting these expectations make it clear to all what is expected and it is much easier to follow a leader with clear expectations.
3. Be courteous. By showing respect for everyone in your family, even the child that is giving you the hardest time at that moment, as a leader you are setting the tone for the family. Everyone in the family is watching to see how you will deal with the member of your team that is not following the rules, determining for themselves how they will be treated. Trust and respect can be gained or lost based on our being courteous to one another.
Teams / Families always reflect their leaders. As the leader of our team / family we set the tone for respect being shown to each other and to those on the outside. By setting the example with consistent, clear, and courteous communication with our team, the team will be more willing to participate and voice their thoughts and feelings, which in the end is what all parents want to have with their children.
Being on a team brings with it certain responsibilities. We have the responsibility to carry out our assignments and to do the best we can with them. There may be times that we do not enjoy doing the assignment we have, but we do them because it will help the team. This may happen at home with chores we have agreed to perform, or in school on a project that we are working on a team. If everyone only did what they wanted to do or liked to do, it is likely that our goals would not be met. In fact we may have to compromise at times and agree to do what is best for the team. However there may be times when we should not go along with the team.
Everyone of us is on a team. Our most important team we are on is our family. Mom, Dad and all the children are teammates. So what are we bringing to the team? What are the strengths we bring that make the team better? It is very seldom that we see everyone is good at the same skills. That is what makes a team so strong. What I may be weak at, may be your strength. When we pool the strengths of each of us then we are able to accomplish tasks and goals that would have been much harder if we had tried to do them by ourselves. At the same time a team can make us better at skills too. You may not be real good at organization, but if you watch and listen to someone on your team who has that skill, you will find that you will improve in that skill set also. You may not ever be as good as your teammate but you will remember that you have your own set of skills to bring to the team. Appreciating our own strengths and the skills of others will help a team be stronger too. There is no reason for us to pretend that we are not good at a skill, thinking that others may like us better or we do not want others to think we are showing off. At the same time we do not want to quit a team, or stop playing full out, because someone is better at a skill that we wished we had. Remember, Team is about pooling our skills to accomplish a common goal using the skills of many. When we can share an accomplishment with others it is more enjoyable and will get done faster than if we tried to do it by ourselves.
All of us have been on good and bad teams. When we are on a good team we can really feel the spirit of cooperation, there are individuals with good attitudes and the character of the individuals create a winning attitude. Even if it is not a sports team, the attitude is about getting the job done while making the best of the situation – maybe even having fun. Not all great teams win all of the time. But one thing that all great teams and teammates do is play fair and divide the tasks fairly, so that all the responsibility does not fall on any one person. When things are going well for the team, it is not surprising that they are successful in the task at hand. Sometimes though the team is just not working. One thing I have learned in teaching is that when things are not going as you would like to see, the first place to look is at your self. If you are on a team and it just is not working out – we may want to look first at ourselves and see if we are being a good teammate. Examine our attitude, the responsibilities we have taken from the leader and examine what we can do become a successful team. It may require that we have a team meeting and refocus on the goals of the team, making sure everyone is on board. What can we do to contribute to the success of the team? Using “I” messages is a good way of expressing our concerns without pointing fingers or making others feel rejected. “I need help in this matter or that” is a good way of being sure everyone on the team knows how they can be more effective teammates. If you have been on a good team or bad tell us about it here. What did you do to have the best experience possible?
Teamwork is our word of the month. There are times when we must work alone, but most of us enjoy having the help and company of a team to accomplish tasks. Teams make the tasks easier and more fun as general rule, unless of course someone on the team has an attitude of being better than the others or does not play full out.
A team is never about just one person – it is about the team and the power that comes from the concerted effort of a group of individuals. While teamwork can be used in different parts of our life, home, school, work and recreation, I believe our most important team is our family.
How do we approach tasks at home? Continue reading “Teamwork discussion”