” Alone we can do so little ; Together we can do so much. ” -Helen Keller
Today I am inspired to talk about the importance of teamwork. Ironically what inspired me was the article I posted yesterday about where Matt and I got this great patio furniture that we have been enjoying all Summer. We are enjoying this patio set because of team work.
The patio furniture came in parts. There were 6 chairs, and each chair had to have the arms bolted on with washers, bolts, and rubber caps. The table had to have the entire bottom portion put together as well. Not that it was so hard to do, but being that it is a large and fairly heavy set, it took quite awhile to make sure it was all securely put together.
Because of the size and weight of the package, it was really a two person job. There is no way I could have done it myself. Matt probably could have..but it would have been awkward to carry the long table by himself and much more time consuming too.
This putting together of the patio set will forever stick in my memory because it was the first thing that Matt and I built together in our first home. We have been in a relationship for a very long time, but it wasn’t until we had a house that I really understood the meaning of teamwork. There is something about literally building with another person, that makes you realize the value of partnership.
Here we were alone in our brand new house with iron or steel parts crammed in to the porch room (or garden room as I call it), and some of Matt’s tools- which included a few things I had not used before. We grabbed a couple of bottled waters , some wrenches and such, and put the radio on to the rock music channel. It took us a little over 2 hours, but you know what? It was a good bonding experience and really a metaphor for what it takes to be successful in your relationships.
I realized that for the most part we work really well together. Why do we work well together?
- We each recognize that someone has to be the leader and we LET each other lead in the appropriate areas. Things run much more smoothly when people don’t try to compete for who is in charge. We all have something different to bring to the table and shine in different ways. It is helpful if you and your teammate know your strengths and weaknesses so you know who needs to lead where. Example-If we were cooking together, I would be the one showing Matt what to do. Working with tools is Matt’s thing, so I let him read the instructions in the box and coach me as to what pieces I needed and how to put it together. Not stepping down for a moment to let someone shine (or lead) when it’s their turn, can lead to problems!
- We both participated and gave it our best effort. Let me point out here that does not mean we did the exact same amount of work..”even Steven”. I had to take a few breaks because I was having one of my tired and semi dizzy days. Also, Matt is more physically strong than I. However, I pushed myself as far as hard as I was able to, until we got it done. When I did have to take breaks, Matt knew it was not because I wasn’t doing my best, but just that we work at different paces. You just can’t have team work if the people involved are not giving their own personal best.
- Which brings me to the next thing I learned about team work- Expectations and Demands. Expecting the other person to do things how WE think they should be done (how quickly, or in the actual methods) is a recipe for trouble. Sounding bossy or scolding is not a recipe for happiness!
- Good team work thrives on encouragement & patience! There were a few tools I did not know how to use, and I wasn’t afraid to ask Matt for help. It took me awhile to get the hang of this one ratchet ( I kept wanting to twist it the wrong way) , but when I had to ask him for like the third time he didn’t sound exasperated or angry. Instead he patiently showed me again and encouraged me that I was doing a good job.
- Having FUN! You have to have a little (or a lot) of fun together. We danced around or sang to some of the music on the radio while doing our job. We also cracked jokes and made light hearted conversation. When you put the FUN in work, it seems less like work and more like play.
- Thank each other for a job well done! It is such a GOOD thing to sit back after a project is finished and to say “Thank you for helping me. I appreciate you.” Ok, so in our case it is me that would say the afore mentioned phrase. Matt is much simpler with his words, so what he did when we finished the patio set was give me a high five. :) I think he threw in a “good job dude” for added measure (yes , we sometimes refer to each other as “dude”…we are best friends after all, so why not? )
So in a nutshell, what makes for good teamwork? :
Choosing a good leader for the job
Giving it your personal best
Avoid being too demanding or putting unrealistic expectations on a person
Encouragement instead of scolding
Lots of Patience
These are the things I learned about teamwork from putting together a patio set with my future husband I think they translate to team work in many different kinds of relationships, from family and friends, to the workplace. What do you think? What does good teamwork mean to you?