• Dylan Cottrill

Working with a Team

The ability to facilitate successful teamwork is a necessary skill to acquire to become a true leader in any role. Every team needs some form of leader, whether they’re brash, timid or charismatic, to be effective and ultimately successful. However, working in any team has its challenges, whether it be a perfectly matched group of individuals or not. When it comes to composing a team, there are several theories on best practice in this area and below is a list of some of these theories outlined by Berkley (2019).

· Consider each employee’s ideas as valuable.

· Act as a harmonising mediator.

· Trust & cooperation across the workforce.

· Delegate problem-based tasks.

· Have team goals and values.

· Clear group goals.

· Seek consensus whenever possible.

· Set ground rules.

(UC Berkeley, 2019)


Now, while these are great ways to set up a good structure for a successful team, it is not quite as clear-cut as you may think. Although the above is also adaptable to most situations, they do not solve the issues of adaptation. Whenever you find yourself in a diverse team, culturally or otherwise, you will have to adapt to the situation. Getting the most out of the team is dependant on the leader’s ability to adapt to the team and the situation which will ensure efficiency and productivity as a unit. Learning to adapt involves understanding how people think and being able to put yourself in their shoes. I believe this is one of the most valuable tools for any leader to have and it has helped me guide teams through confrontation and conflict countless times.


Often, the issues in teamwork revolve around the hesitancy of team members sharing their concerns, opinions, wants and needs. This creates a major barrier in communication that can jeopardise the success of the team. So, what’s my method to combat this insatiable challenge? The Upfront Approach, it’s a way of getting to the punchline by simply being as upfront as possible. It’s important to note that I don’t intend for you to just say what comes to mind but rather, it’s about phrasing questions in an objective, direct but polite manner. For instance, if you feel that a team member is complaining and struggling to find direction, simply ask the question, ‘What do you need from me to make your life easier?’. Then it's just a question of mutual benefit, identifying the common ground and establishing the best possible direction for the team. I always try to keep that mindset because it helps to fulfil the purpose of the team and keep a healthy work environment. This is because when your teammates feel heard, understood and acknowledged they become far more productive, they will also develop a sense of community responsibility where they feel they need to do their job for the greater good of the team and/or the organisation.


Diversity and international exposure are a huge advantage in almost any situation because with it comes, but is not limited to; unique perspectives, cultural sensitivity, emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills that are difficult to develop in a monotonous and unchanging environment. So, one answer is to create the opposite, it’s as simple as that. Ronald Reagan said – “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” This eloquently illustrates the point I am making, being a great leader is about others and their potential waiting to be unleashed on the world. So – change, adapt, innovate and stimulate.


At the end of the day, I believe that to be a good manager you need to be a good leader, and to be a successful leader… create an environment your people want to be in, give your people purpose in their work and finally – show your appreciation. The power of people is valuable, never take it value for granted.


Dylan Cottrill | LinkedIn

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