Written by : Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D.

How Teamwork Can Make Your Life Better

Here are four ways to ramp up cooperation and productivity.

Work as volunteer. Experienced senior volunteer holding garbage bag and staring at camera

Here are four ways to ramp up cooperation and productivity.

Anytime two or more people come together with shared goals, common vision or commitment, the character strength of teamwork becomes important. Research shows that those who are high in this character strength have a positive view of others and more social trust, which can lead to greater success on the task or goal at hand.

Consider the many ways that teamwork is important in your life. Here are some examples:

  • A mother and father work together, as a team, in parenting their child with behavioral challenges. They ensure they give the child consistent messages of positive support and steady boundaries, in which they are on the “same page.”
  • A family has a “family meeting” each month to discuss what went well and what needs improvement in their efforts to keep a clean, well-maintained home. Each child and parent equally listens, shares ideas and offers a way to help.
  • Five adolescents on a basketball team pass the ball back and forth selflessly as a unit, looking for the best opportunity to score.  
  • Eight members of a work group verbally comment on the strengths they appreciate in one another after working together for two months on an important and demanding project.
  • A committee initiates a new recycling campaign that involves a team of city employees and several volunteer teams to make the community project a success.

Want to give your teamwork strength an extra boost? Try these research-based activities from my latest book:

1.) Use “team talk”: Try using positive self-talk about your team (not yourself). Instead of saying “I will do a good job,” say to yourself, “we will perform well,” “we are focused and ready” and “we believe in our abilities.”

2.) Use a positive approach: Whether your team members are fellow students, family members or co-workers, be positive, encouraging and proactive by taking initiative and making efforts to hear their opinions.

3.) Validate successes: Look for team members’ mini-successes (finishing a small task, starting a project early, having a difficult conversation) and compliment them on their efforts and progress. This will build team confidence.

4.) Link strengths and roles: When you notice another team member doing something that is energizing or seems to make them happy, point it out. Talk about the strength you see them using and connect it to the role they are playing on the team or the task at hand. For example, “I see how excited you get when you use your curiosity strength. That seemed to really help you connect with that customer."

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 edition of Live Happy magazine.
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