It's about the ability to make an active contribution, based on your own expertise, to the process of production and to cooperate. What is at stake in cooperating is not just what you know and what you can do as an individual, but what you can do together. That is why it is valuable to put individuals together from different backgrounds and with different competences and skills.
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Forming a team
Belbin's Team Roles model is useful. It is based on the assumption that different roles have to be carried out in the group if it is to form a good team. There will have to be a leader, someone who is concerned with the development of the group, someone who can think creatively, and someone who ensures that everything is worked out down to the tiniest detail. It is unusual for a single person to combine all these qualities.
To find the right person you have to know what you want and what you expect. What do you need? For which part of the process? Other fields may have a different jargon or little knowledge of your field. Make sure you know from each other what you exactly mean and how you like to work. Learn as much as possible of the person with whom you work. That gives you an advantage in future projects; it makes communicating a lot easier and the probability of a good final result increases.
When you actually start working together, mutual communication and understanding is very important. The intention is that everyone can be themselves and feel safe in the team. Understand each other's story and background. Take enough time to get to know each other. Should an unsafe feeling nevertheless arise, tools such as LSD and providing good feedback can help to properly conduct a conversation about this.
LSD stands for Listen, Sum Up and Don't Stop Asking Questions. Applying the LSD method helps you to communicate better. You try to understand what the others are saying in such a way that they feel that they are understood. You do this by displaying curiosity in asking questions openly and honestly. Interpreting or asking suggestive questions are not on.
Giving and receiving feedback is important for good communication, for instance within a project or with clients. Feedback is a means of showing the other party what you have seen, what the effect is, and what you want to achieve with it. An important condition for good communication is the ability to listen to others properly.
A resource for giving and receiving feedback is the method that focuses on Action, Effect and Preference.
- The Action is what you have actually seen, for example: 'I see that you look out of the window when I say something'.
- The Effect of the interpretation is the effect that it has on you, for example: 'That gives me the impression that you are not interested in what I am saying. It makes me feel like not telling you anything any more, and that is surely not what you want'.
- The Preference indicates what you would prefer instead, for example 'I would prefer you to look at me when I am talking to you'.
Always start with the facts and not with your interpretations. Facts leave no room for discussion, and that creates scope for the other party to listen to what you want to get across. You can then go on to give your personal interpretation of the facts. Always speak in the first person and don't start with 'you…'. Use of the second person is often regarded as an attack, and that therefore provokes a defensive attitude.