wednesday wisdom: teamwork

When people cooperate to achieve a common goal, amazing things can happen. Even for those of us who prefer solitude to being around others much of the time, the benefits of connecting with fellow humans — both in personal and professional contexts — affect not only the group, but also the individual in positive ways. (Of course, if you are an introvert, this may require a little creativity and a pretty thorough understanding of your boundaries, but there are tons of innovative digital resources these days that make it easy to collaborate with a team on your own terms.)

Working together, at home as well as work, boosts morale and yields higher efficiency when each person focuses on his or her contribution to the whole by offering their respective strengths. Even better? Practice makes perfect, so practicing a specific task diligently (as opposed to handling a whole project on your own, spreading your attention thin) will ideally create new, stronger strengths for you. Practicing teamwork also teaches improved conflict resolution and communication skills. According to research, cooperation can even make you more intelligent!

Together. It’s a powerful concept. We are stronger together than apart, and history has proven the power of organized groups of people passionate about the same causes.

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In my personal life, I’ve begun implementing team-building practices into our household routines, and am continuing to seek solutions that seem fun for the kids and easy for me to maintain. The goal is to encourage generosity, solid work ethic, social skills, and balance. We’re still attempting to design the perfect chore chart for my family’s lifestyle, one that makes it easy to keep track of goals and how/when/how much each member acts in the interest of achieving them.

When it comes to art and business, I find myself doing my best work with a team, despite not considering myself much of a “people person.” I’ve found many ways to create awesome things that are integral to their projects without being confined to an environment in which I’m not comfortable enough to thrive. I paint theatrical set pieces in solitude, usually while rocking out to 80s-90s music and getting quite a workout, which are then combined with the fruits of the actors’ and theatre staff’s labor to produce wonderfully entertaining shows. I make custom accessories at my desk at home for clients who are overseeing team-powered projects and events of all kinds, and am always thrilled to see the finished product, once it’s all pieced together. Being an important little part of an awesome bigger picture is exhilarating and inspiring to me, so there’s an effect on my momentum going forward as well.

Even for this blog, Renée and I each contribute posts that highlight our individual interests and areas of expertise. We both have busy daily lives, and have each experienced our share of significant family and personal obstacles that serve as setbacks on the path to some of our professional ideals. If one of us is overwhelmed when life gets in the way, the other always tries to make certain the ship stays afloat.

Knowing we have a caring support system helps soften life’s blows. Having a cohort who shares your vision is an invaluable resource, making it more likely that we’ll get back on track after we stumble. I know there are areas in my life wherein I’d like to be a better teammate, and wherein I’d love to influence those around me to do the same.

Do you manage a team or a busy family? If so, what tips and insights would you say have been particularly motivational or helpful? Leave us a comment below!

-Jen



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