So I've been thinking about teamwork the last few days, mainly in the context of importance and how we seem to want to dodge it, even in setting where it's essential.

In typical Kelly fashion, the following bullet-pointed list outlines my thoughts thus far:

  • As a general rule, we are concerned with looking out for ourselves. That's not necessarily a bad thing and I do agree that CYA has value, but not at the expense of doing what needs to be done in a timely way. It seems a much simpler solution to simply take the time to do something right the first time you do it, and have a group of individuals committed to that goal, rather than initialling this or fussing because *you* use this particular color ink to write.
  • For many people, personal responsibility has gone right out the window. Face it, we all make mistakes and it's best in the long run to simply acknowledge the mistake, figure out what you can learn from it, and move forward. It's counter-productive to deny any knowledge of what went wrong and then when confronted by the solid fact that yes indeed you DID make the mistake, spend ten minutes backpedaling and blaming someone else. Just listen, learn, and move along. Please and thank you.
  • Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and just do your job. Let me assure you, people are not doing things just to cause you problems or bother you. Most likely they're just doing what is required of their job because they have someone breathing down their neck. Just accept that all the members of your team are doing what is necessary to get their job done and let them be. If they're doing something incorrectly, sure let them know or say something. But do it politely and respectfully. It's entirely possible to not really like someone and still be respectful.
  • If you do feel the need to talk about another co-worker on the job, at least make an attempt to do it out of his/her earshot. It doesn't make it any easier for someone to get through their own day in a positive, professional way when you can clearly be heard down the counter talking about him/her. Trust me on this. And add other behaviors into the mix and work can be downright miserable for the object of your scorn.
  • "Because I don't like you" is not a valid reason for trying to run someone off a job. I can really not think of any good reason for one person to try and run another person off. If you have a real problem with the way a job is being done, either talk to the person or the supervisor. If there is a real problem, the supervisor can step in and handle it, if you're not feeling comfortable in discussing it with the other person. Eventually there will be a person you can't just run off, and it makes things awkward for everyone when you keep trying.
To recap, what I keep coming back to is - stay positive; focus on doing your own job well; remember the end-goals your team shares and do your best to contribute to the achievement of those goals; keep in mind everyone will not like you and you will not like everyone but you can still work together and function well.

Anything I'm missing? Ideas for how to make a difference in a dysfunctional team, particularly in a stressful environment? I'd be interested in your thoughts.