Young Money: Secrets and teamwork’s unavoidable value
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • February 27, 2013 @ 9:50am
I am a self-admitted reality show junky. I especially love the ones where some type of actual skill is involved, like “Project Runway” or “Top Chef.”
Have you ever noticed how any time there is a team challenge on one of these skill shows, it’s always an epic fail? Egos get in the way, everyone wants to lead and no one wants to give up an inch to help everyone reach the final goal.
Now think back to college and the always-dreaded group projects. If you’re like me, you hated these projects and didn’t believe your professor when they said the real world is full of group projects.
Much like my beloved reality shows, egos were always in play, classmates were trying to prove their intellectual superiority and everyone was desperate for an A – no matter what. I hated group projects each semester and couldn’t wait to get them over with and get back to my solo work as soon as possible. I wanted to get into the real world as soon as possible, where I could stop silly group projects and rely on myself to get the job done.
Guess what? Work is one giant group project. Not a day goes by that I don’t collaborate on at least one project with a co-worker. Whether it’s something small like determining who will coordinate tomorrow’s meeting or handling a major production like running one of our signature events, I am constantly in communication with at least one, usually several, coworkers to ensure everything goes smoothly. If we all worried about who got credit, nothing would ever get done.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret – you know the people on your team who don’t pull their weight? Chances are your boss does too. Stop worrying about getting credit for what you do to get the job done. Instead, focus on what you can positively contribute to help the group reach its overall goal.
You’ll feel accomplished, you’ll attain your objective and trust me, your hard work will be recognized. Don’t force it on anyone, just quietly pull your weight and all of a sudden, you’ll be the office’s go-to guy or gal. When people start relying on you, you’re no longer just a team player, but a team leader.
Want more information on how a team dynamic can make or break an office? Check out the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni to learn about the common team spirit-breakers and how to overcome them. I read this book in college and use many of the lessons contained within in my work world each day.