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June 21, 2024 - June 21, 2024   

Are you a team player? Asks Eric Gilston, Life & Business Coach

Throughout my coaching life, I have worked with students in schools, colleges and Universities, as well as with people in business. When facilitating in workshops, and looking at different issues, I split the total group into small groups of around five individuals.

I specifically remember at one school where I was one of four business coaches working with 16 to 17 year olds. It was an Entrepreneurship day, where the students were learning about Enterprise and being an Entrepreneur, and then, in their small groups creating a business concept that was marketed within a competitive Trading Game.

On my train journey home, I was thinking about why two of the four teams that I’d been working with, had come first in the two categories that were being assessed. In my view, it came down primarily to Teamwork.

TEAM is an acronym that stands for Together Everyone Achieves More.

I should have guessed that it was going to be a great day, and that I was going to be working with a group of winners, when they sorted themselves into four teams very quickly. This is not usually the case in all schools.

However, observing how these girls operated revealed that they were prepared to listen to each other’s ideas, and build on what was being said and heard. Everyone was contributing, without being asked or prompted. No one was rejecting someone’s idea without giving good reasons why. There was a buzz in the room as the excitement grew in the knowledge that not only had they thought about good business ideas, but they were putting all the ideas together to make a great end product.

The real question for you is, “Are you a team player?” This can apply at home, at school, in business or in sport. So, what is YOUR answer? I can hear some of you saying, “I don’t need to be a team player, I have all the answers and I’m always right”.  To you, I say the following. Next time you have a challenge, write down how you intend to tackle that challenge and place it in an envelope and seal it. Then talk to different people about how they would tackle that challenge, be honest with yourself, and see whether or not there are some new ideas that could be worth taking on board.

To those of you who appreciate the value of working in teams, carry on using this approach, and really capitalise on knowing that everyone has a part to play, so listen and take on board everyone’s contribution.

For those of you who follow professional team sports, it is not always the teams that have spent the most money who are the ones that win week in, week out. There have been many shock results from teams who have played for each other, recognising each other’s strengths. Long may this continue.

Remember that in any team, everyone brings in their own experience, which simply adds to the overall team’s knowledge, and therefore must be more beneficial than working on your own.

So, let’s bring this back to those of you who work, and what goes on in your workplace. What do you think are the attributes that YOU should possess to be an excellent team player in your work environment? Write them down on a piece of paper. Place a tick alongside those attributes that you actually possess NOW. What about all the other people in your team, e.g. the rest of your sales team? Which of the attributes that you have written down, do each of them possess? Write down all your team members’ names and place ticks alongside those attributes that each of them possess.

The data that you now have can be used to maximise the success of a true team effort by utilising the strengths that show up, and working hard to fill the gaps where the ticks have not been placed and some members of staff need extra training.

If you would like more tips like these, or you have any questions on life skills, then email me on eric@coachandcourses.com

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