Working with a partner or within a team can sometimes be a challenge. Many of us would simply rather do things ourselves. It’s much easier to ensure the product is to our liking if we don’t have other hands in the mix. But there are times when more eyes, more ideas, and more hands are exactly what we need. Then what? How can we work well together and ensure that the results of the group are greater than the results of one?
1. Decide who is in charge of the project.
A group is useless without someone who can act as the final authority. We can toss ideas at the wall all day, but someone has to determine which ideas stick. If that person isn’t you, learn to be okay with that. Be willing to set aside your preferences for the good of the whole team and the goals that you determine as a group. It’s wise to have a different person in charge of different projects, so everyone has an opportunity to express their creative vision over time.
2. Use your Prioritized Daily Task List.
You’ll find a Prioritized Daily Task List in many FranklinCovey daily planners. As you begin, complete, move, or delegate a task, mark it on your list so you know where you are with your project at a glance. Your planner includes symbols for each action associated with the tasks you perform.
The symbols are all simple and easy to remember, but you may wonder about the delegate symbol, a letter G with a circle and a checkmark. What does a G have to do with delegating? Nothing, really. The G is simply representative of the initial of the person to whom you delegated the task. You will likely use several different letters. We would suggest making an index for the people you work with regularly: L – Lisa, R – Rachel, J – Jen, I – Imari, etc. You may also choose to use a different pen color for each person in your family or on your team. So when you delegate a task, the initial reminds you who is doing the work and you place a check mark in the circle once the work is complete. It’s a complex symbol, but it helps us keep track of the task and encourages us to follow up.
3. Learn to delegate.
Delegating is a difficult task to master because you are placing something outside your control and into the hands of another. The effectiveness of your team member will have a direct impact on the quality of your work. Delegation is also hard when you are new to the process yourself and aren’t sure enough about the steps involved to ask someone for help. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need help. Be honest with your team members and get them involved early and often. Trust them to do their best and avoid micro-managing at all costs.
4. Let go of perfection.
You may have one idea in mind for certain aspects of a project, and your team member may have a very different idea. Don’t let your preconceived notions interfere with the creativity of the team. Perfection is highly subjective anyway. If you allow each member of the team to exercise their own creativity within the bounds agreed upon by the project coordinator, your project will take on a life of its own and become something more that you could do yourlsef.
5. Finish your portion ahead of schedule.
Do all in your power to complete the tasks assigned to you ahead of schedule. This will allow time for changes and revisions. Revisions improve almost everything. Finishing early also allows room for adjustments in case someone becomes ill and can’t be with you for a while. Having your portion complete early allows time for you to step in and help where needed.
6. Have fun, be positive, and stay flexible.
No one likes a frowny face. Stay positive and enthusiastic about your work and remain complementary of your co-workers no matter what happens along the way. Give them the benefit of the doubt when things appear to have gone wrong, as they sometimes do. Don’t be a pushover, but be willing to bend and help whenever necessary. You never know when you will be asking for the same sort of assistance.
Hopefully these suggestions have reminded you of a group project you loved working on—or not. If so, we’d love to hear what worked well with your team.