There is a well-known quip that there is no “I” in the word “team.” After all, team is spelled T-E-A-M. One catalog for team building materials uses TEAM to mean “Together Everyone Achieves More.” There’s truth to that.
In real life though, using team building language, giving out mugs or hanging posters doesn’t automatically lead to a team working “like a well-oiled machine.” It takes time, effort, and understanding to truly relate as one, and it isn’t going to happen unless each member does indeed focus on the missing “I” in “team.” Teamwork starts with YOU.
Teams are only as good as the individuals that make them up. Yes, the whole is greater than the parts, but if the parts are defective, the team will be affected. (Hey, that sounds like another quip! “Parts Defective Means Teams Affected.”)
So, the place to start with team building is you. Here’s an assessment to help you determine what type of a team player you really are. Ask yourself:
- Do I enjoy working with other people? (Some personalities would rather be in a corner doing tasks all day.)
- When I meet with other team members, do I contribute to the conversation? (Or do I sit and say nothing?)
- When I share my ideas, do I limit my words so others can contribute too?
- Do I want people to carry out my idea in exactly the way I envision it?
- Am I willing to ask questions to learn from others with a different expertise?
- If I’m naturally a take-charge person, do I willingly step back sometimes to open opportunities for those less likely to step up?
- Do I feel I am more experienced than the others on my team and that they should listen to me most of the time?
- Do I note what is going on with others by truly listening, acknowledging events like birthdays or accomplishments?
- Am I quick (but not insincere) in giving thanks and praise to others in the way they would most enjoy? (i.e. not embarrassing them)
- Do people come to me to ask for help? Am I approachable?
If you are really brave, after answering these questions, give them to your coworkers to answer anonymously on your behalf. Do the answers match up? Be prepared to make changes without defensiveness if something surprising is revealed to you. In the long run, that will be for your good and the good of the team! Make sure the “I” in your team is the best example of teamwork!
For a handbook of fun activities and discussions to share with your team, you may enjoy my book Boost Your Workplace Morale. Visit my store for this book and other helpful resources.
Sharon collapsed onto the couch wondering, “Where did the time go?” She looked over her to-do list from the day, and saw only half of the items completed.
The list seemed reasonable when she wrote it out this morning, but she went to bed feeling like a failure.
Has that ever happened to you?
A stuffed calendar and an overflowing to-do list can lead to stress, meltdowns, and discouragement, but there are ways to refine how you manage your time, so that there’s more time for an unrushed pursuit of faith, relationships and other things of value to you.
Develop an Evening Routine
What we do toward the end of the day is the most important foundation for the next day and week. Flylady.net calls it the “before bed routine.”
You can do the same. Make a list of a few tasks that would positively impact the next morning if you could do them consistently. These may include:
- packing lunches
- getting clothes out (including accessories)
- having a bit of quiet time
- reviewing tomorrow’s calendar
- packing up extra items like gym bags, computer items or coupons for shopping
Do whatever works for you to consistently finish your day well.
Develop a Morning Routine
An effective evening routine is enhanced by a smart morning routine. Again, write down what would make for an ideal morning, with items such as:
- having a quiet time to pursue faith-based interests
- eating a good breakfast
- tidying the house
- checking mail
Make a list that’s realistic and that works for you, and be willing to adjust it. Try to get into a daily routine, using your list as a guide.
Plan for Transitions
One of my weaknesses is a tendency to not allow enough time to transition between appointments. In this season of my life, I spend a lot of time at home. Because I live in a somewhat rural area, it’s more efficient to stack appointments when I do go out. That means it often takes planning. I need to have gather what I want to bring along, take a few moments to leave the house in decent condition, and touch up my personal appearance. Therefore, I am teaching myself to allow at least 15 minutes of transition/pack up time. If I need to be somewhere that is 40 minutes away at 11:00, I need to stop working on the computer at 10 and take 15 minutes for the transition, not push my computer work to 10:15.
Overcoming our time management struggles takes intentionality. They won’t fix themselves. Getting a handle on these first three will be a tremendous help toward significant improvement!
Question: Which of these three suggestions would be the best one for you to start using?
This post originally appeared as a guest post at Take Heart Ministries.
All that’s missing–is you!
Do you need someone to bounce ideas off of? Are you curious about what it means to be a virtual assistant? Do you want to create a better professional workflow and enjoy a less overwhelmed life? Do you need to vent about some issues you need to handle at work?
I can help!
Nearly 30 years of administrative, management and entrepreneurial experience, writing, speaking and a reputation for creativity and responsiveness position me to be an engaging and practical friend to overwhelmed professionals and entrepreneurs.
I can objectively consider your areas of frustration either as an individual professional or in the larger context of your workplace. I’m very familiar with personality styles, time management approaches, communication skills and office/operations management and am constantly learning how to manage my own professional and personal life in a more effective way, so always have ideas to share.
But I’m not a coach, nor a consultant. I don’t offer official credentials or extensive packages for coaching/consulting. However, I do have expertise and creative ideas to offer–the types of things that would be a great discussion over coffee to help you work through your questions and curiosities. And sometimes, those casual conversations are fantastic for “light-bulb” moments and that one suggestion that makes all the difference.
So, I offer “Conversations over Coffee” for overwhelmed professionals, on a variety of topics. For example:
- What’s it mean to start and run a virtual assistance business?
- How can I better manage my email?
- What tools and technology might be good for me?
- How can I better get along with my business partner?
- How do you run your bookkeeping for your small business?
- How can I handle difficult clients?
- What steps should I take to make the transition out of employment into entrepreneurship?
- Should I start blogging?
- How can I live out my faith and values in my workplace?
- I’d like to share what I’m learning out of my professional development reading.
These are just a few of the topics that we can discuss.
How Does it Work?
Conversations Over Coffee are held via Zoom video conferencing, a free and reliable service, or via phone call if that is more comfortable for you.
You can book a one-hour* conversation session for $50.00. If this interests you, please contact me to request a time, and I will get in touch with you about scheduling a session. I will then invoice you and once payment is received, the session will be formally booked.
A few other things you should know:
- Coffee Conversations are designed for those who want to talk directly with me for a focused session on professional topics of your choice. For those seriously interested in ongoing Virtual Assisting packages, I offer a free 30-minute consultation specifically about virtual assisting to determine if our team would be a fit for your needs. These two opportunities are unique and not interchangeable.
- *A Conversation Over Coffee session is considered to be any amount of time up to, and capped at, 60 minutes.
- Every attempt will be made to book the COC in a timely way in accordance to when payment is received.
- This is a non-refundable service.
- The coffee is symbolic, though I may very well have a mug of it while on the call with you and hope you will too (unless you like tea!)
To expedite a booking, you can use this button to pre-pay.