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Weekly Wellness Word: Teamwork

Monthly Theme: Playing & Working

This week’s word is Teamwork

From the time of our earliest ancestors mankind has lived in the context of community. Mammoths cannot be killed nor eaten alone. Early man needed each other to tackle the mammoths in life and taking them on alone was a recipe for disaster. These mammoths were both a challenge and a blessing. To kill one was the challenge. To share the meat with the village for days to come was the blessing. They each had skills and talents that life experience had taught them. They all knew who in the village was the skilled spearsman. That person should carry the spear. Another person was a fast runner. He chased the mammoth towards the spearsman. With everyone pulling their strength together, they brought the big boy down.

The hard truth of productivity is that there are only so many hours in a day, only a limited amount of work that you can produce as an individual. Your eyes see a wider scope of work that needs to be done than what you can personally achieve by yourself. It is a heavy weight on the To Do side and the source of most of your anxiety, frustration, and feelings of being overwhelmed. The truth is that you can't do it all. And, if you want to experience a healthy life balance, you shouldn't.

You need a team, and a plan. The secret ingredient is collaboration rather than competition. You know what you bring to the table. Offer those skills for the betterment of the team and be open to learning new things. Listen and discover the skills of the others. Give them plenty of room to practice and grow those skills. Brainstorm together about where the gaps are and the possibilities of how those can be filled.

You are not in this alone. There are people around you that can help.

This week, write down three tasks that have been lingering on your mental To Do list for awhile, things that you just can't seem to get done. Take a couple minutes and reflect on whether these tasks are yours to accomplish or not. Do they fall within your skill set? Consider whether there is there someone on your team that is better equipped to tackle them. Are any of the tasks too big for you to handle single-handedly? Write down names of people who might be willing to chip in and help. Reach out to them and set up a time to talk about how you might be able to collaborate.

Quote of the Week

A team of about 35 employees had come together for a team building event. They were a young, bright and enthusiastic team.

However, one big problem this team had was they wouldn’t share information or solutions with each other. The leader felt they were too focused on self and not enough on team.

So she started off with a fun team activity that would allow her to teach the importance of each team member working together and sharing more.

She brought the team into the cafeteria. All of the tables and chairs had been stacked and put away. Placed around the room were fun decorations and hundreds of different colored balloons.

Everyone was excited, but not sure what it was all about. In the center of the room was a big box of balloons that had not been blown up yet.

The team leader asked each person to pick a balloon, blow it up and write their name on it. But they were instructed to be careful because the balloon could pop!

A few balloons did indeed pop and those members of the team were given another chance, but were told that if the balloon popped again they were out of the game.

About 30 team members were able to get their name on a balloon without it popping. Those 30 were asked to leave their balloons and exit the room. They were told they had qualified for the second round.

Five minutes later the leader brought the team back into the room and announced that their next challenge was to find the balloon they had left behind with their name on it among the hundreds of other balloons scattered in the large cafeteria. She warned them however to be very careful and not to pop any of the balloons. If they did, they would be disqualified.

While being very careful, but also trying to go as quickly as they could, each team member looked for the balloon with their name. After 15 minutes not one single person was able to find their balloon. The team was told that the second round of the game was over and they were moving onto the third round.

In this next round the leader told the team members to find any balloon in the room with a name on it and give it to the person whose name was on it. Within a couple of minutes every member of the team had their balloon with their own name on it.

The team leader made the following point: ‘We are much more efficient when we are willing to share with each other. And we are better problem solvers when we are working together, not individually.’

Often times members of teams create obstacles that get in the way of teamwork by solely focusing on their own pursuits and goals. They hoard information, avoid collaboration and distance themselves. It is bad for the team and it is bad for that individual."

Next Step

To explore how you can be a better team player and leverage the benefits of teamwork, check out this article from MindTools. As you read through the different role types, where do you fit? Where do your coworkers fit?

Further Information

For a deeper dive on the 6 Benefits of Teamwork in the Workplace, check out this article from Sandler Training.

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