There is a saying that floats around from time to time, “No man is an island.” Yet, how many of us really understand what that means? Even more importantly, how many of us are trying to work as if we were islands? You know what I mean, don’t you? Those of us who try and do everything ourselves, without allowing anyone else to take part; those that are afraid to let others into their project, for fear that they’ll “mess it up.”
Granted, there’s always a good chance that others will mess things up. You can pretty much count on it. After all, “to err is human” is still true. But, there’s another side to this coin. Maybe those other people will mess things up, and maybe they’ll make things better.
When we get the input of others into our projects, we gain the benefit of their ability and their ideas. Maybe they’re better at one thing than you are. That’s great! Get them to do that part. Maybe they’ll have an idea, which makes your plans better. That’s great as well! Who cares where the idea comes from, just as long as it makes things better?
We must all realize that we’re part of a team. The size of that team may vary and the tasks that each team member does may vary as well; but it’s still a team. The trick is to learn how to work together as a team.
Part of working together as an effective team is to learn the strengths of each team member. There might be one who is great at putting presentations together, while another is great at developing scenerios for the learners to work through, a third team member may be the in-house expert at developing models and hands-on training tools to use. Each of these team members has something to offer the team as a whole, when we take advantage of it.
When a team takes advantage of each member’s strengths, the team becomes stronger and produces a better product. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about putting together a training plan or building a house, each team member must know their strengths, and the strengths of the other team members.
Another important part of making the team work together as a team is communications. True communications happen on a number of levels. The words we speak are one level, the way that we say them can be another level entirely. Our body language can be a third level. Each of these levels transmits part of the message, which our brain then puts together in order to understand the whole message being sent.
If the team doesn’t know how to communicate with one another, then it doesn’t know how to do anything effectively. Clear communication is the basis for everything that the team does, from drinking a cup of tea to delivering training to the learners. As communication improves, so does the potential for great accomplishments. Each team member can build upon the work of others, to make the final product greater than the sum of its parts.