Teamwork is give and take

Photo courtesy of Mr. Ducke (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Mr. Ducke (Creative Commons)

One of my favorite activities at the playground when I was little was the seesaw.  But it was a team activity, not solo. Both parties needed to be focused and paying attention to make it enjoyable. It was important to have the right give and take so that both of you moved up and down smoothly, without banging, and without jerking.

Give and take is key to any team situation, and the teams that function at the highest levels are successful at having that right give and take, using the strengths of the team members to balance the activity and communicating with each other so everyone is informed along the way.

Teams in which the activity level is not balanced, where some team members do more than others or have to step into areas that are not their personal strengths tend to end up as those dysfunctional teams that are made fun of in presentations and sitcoms.

The team I’m on with the organization called I Run 4, is one of the best teams I’ve worked with. This organization pairs runners with those who do not have the gift of mobility, and we run for them, in their honor. The group has grown to nearly 6300 members and over 1800 matches in just 9 months.

As part of the administrative team that does the matches and works out issues between buddies and runners, it is important that we communicate well and use our strengths so that no one has an unfair load. It is amazing to be part of a team that is so balanced – just like the up and down of the seesaw, one person does their part to push up, then the other one takes over, and on and on. We communicate throughout the process so each of us stays up-to-date on issues and solutions.

Think about the teams you are on – is that balance there? What would you need to change to have a smoother ride?