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I’m going to start by asking a question … are you a jack of all trades?  Are you the best at everything you do?  Or, are there people who know better than you?  This same question holds true with teams you are on.

When you hire a team, or are brought onto a team, the people that are chosen are normally there to expand on the current set of skills that the team has available to them.  So, I want to ask, why not trust them to do what they were brought on to do?

Lots of people get lost in the fact that they want to lead a team and by doing that try to control each of the interactions whic occur on it.  This sense of control could make it feel like the project is going smoothly and efficiently, but at the say time will likely start to make people feel untrusted which in turn affects productivity.  If people are constantly looking over their shoulders, to see if they are being monitored, or feeling pressured to work, the work that they produce will suffer.  But not only that, their desire to exceed expectations will likely also diminish.

Instead, in a team situation, you need to really stop and let your just work and do what they were brought on to do.

Of course, there will be times that this trust has been abused but those times generally followed up by some tough conversations where the situation is addressed.  If it isn’t, it still is not a reason to not trust the team, it is an issue for the team leads (or managers) to deal with.  Lack of trust breeds negativity in the work environment which in turn is counterproductive.

I would like to encourage you to trust those with whom you work.  Your team will end up being a lot more productive if you can.

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Throughout university, with all of the individual projects that you do, you learn that you as an individual are able build some pretty neat things on your own.  And if you were like me, completely dread any sort of team work.  This of course was because of the fact that team projects in university typically ended up with one or two people doing all of the work (which in my case was normally me).  This was a great learning experience for me but it also scared me a little about working on teams.

When going into my first job out of university I was going to be put on a sprint team, I entered a little hesitant, but being right out of school I knew I had a lot of things still to learn so I was all in!

I joined the team as a Junior Software Developer, the team I was on consisted of both several Seniors each of which had different specialities.  I was excited!  Not only was I given the unique opportunity to work with people and actually choose what area I was going to specialize in.  At the time, I didn't know what I wanted to specialize in all I wanted to do was code, and learn along the way.  That is exactly what I did.

The team that I was now on worked way more efficiently than I could have ever imagined.  But not just that, the collaboration and actual team work that went on was amazing.  Through design and implementation discussions and working with various members of the team, I was able to learn skills that would help me to excel at my career.  This was all due to the fact that on the team, everyone was able to check their egos as the door.  Had this not been the case, well, the experience and lessons learned would have been significantly different.

However, working in teams can also be a huge challenge.  There are people who always like to be heard and have their stuff be built the way they imagined it.  Situations like these can end up leading to poor decisions because the best work that comes out of a team is work that is built through a collaborative effort as it does the following:

  •  satisfies people's desire for their opinions to be heard
  •  combines the experiences of everyone involved to get a much better solution 
  •  promotes further team work and collaboration

One thing that you always have to remember when working in a team is the fact that every member of the person of the team is a person just like you.  So remember to treat them that way.  The team will work more cohesively if everyone is given the same respect that you would like to be given.

In conclusion, teamwork does not need to be as painful as it was in group projects throughout school, yes it can be, but it can be a very fruitful and fulfilling experience depending on what you put into it!

Posted in tools