As I said in my post on Combining Functions, a team gets far more done than a group of individuals does, if you can develop a culture and a way of working where the challenging/inspiring interactions between the teammates' brains gives you more than simply the sum of the brains involved, where you get a kind of multiplicative effect between the members of the team.
So how do you build a culture that achieves that kind of effect? By practicing collegiality.
Be civil - People can’t work together effectively if they don’t respect each other and treat each other with mutual respect. People are not computers. The deep and incomprehensibly complex emotional layer we all carry around can be a powerful positive tool when channeled as passion, but it is tricky and needs to be handled with care. A critical part of working together effectively is having empathy for others and understanding that how you communicate is just as important as what you communicate. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to challenge each other — you can’t get big hard things done if you shrink away from tough conversations! Appropriately challenging each other is key factor in getting that multiplicative combining function. Just do so with respect and empathy. Likewise, don’t make it hard for others to work with you and to challenge you. Be confident and have a thick skin. Debating an idea with the goal of getting to the best outcome for customers and your company is not personal. Check your ego at the door.
Collaborate - You need to actively engage with each other if you want to get things done together. Be open, let others know what you are thinking and what you know, let them see what you are working on. Be curious and ask questions, get to know your colleagues and try to understand their perspective if it is different from your own. Be hungry to learn from them. Discover, sincerely, what everyone's strengths and weaknesses are and learn how to complement each other. Don’t be afraid to let go, don’t have an overly developed pride of ownership. If the play calls for passing the ball, then pass the ball.
Be reliable - Be someone that others can rely on. If your teammates have hesitation about whether you are going to come through on your part of the puzzle, they will hedge and the result will be sub-optimal. Effective teammates demonstrate responsibility and earn trust through working together. Effective teammates know that when they pass the ball, the receiver will actually catch and run with it. Also, have each other’s back. Be ready to step in and help when you sense a teammate in trouble, but don’t shield them from appropriate consequences — that can reinforce bad habits.
Care - I use caring as a fundamental ingredient in a number of my culture virtues, and that’s because it is so vitally important. You can’t do anything if you don’t care. So, just as you care about your work, your customers, your reputation, etc, you must care about your colleagues. I you don’t care about them, you have no hope of treating them with collegiality.
Have fun! - We don't need to bore ourselves to tears at work. There will of course be up and downs, good days and bad days, tough days and easy days. But overall, the work you do should be enjoyable and it should be enjoyable to work with your teammates. You don't have to be best friends with your colleagues, but it's important to develop a healthy sense of camaraderie in the office and take some time out to play together. It makes your work together better as well as making you happier.
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