Throughout my career, my hope is to improve and acquire new skills, but one skill that I think doesn’t get enough attention is learning how to work, and work well, with others. Sounds simple right? Many of us have been a member of a team before – whether it’s a sports team, a club, or a team project in school, but the dynamic of the team depends on the different skill levels and commitments of the team members. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed about working at a PR agency is being able to work with a variety of individuals. From those who are new to PR, to some teammates who have been in the industry for years, I’ve learned so much from those around me.
Here are some of the key lessons I’ve learned by working on a team:
There is no I in team: How many times have we heard this one before? It’s a saying that can be found on the football field as well in your last internal business meeting – this statement is simple, yet true. We couldn’t accomplish what we do every day for our clients without a team. Every person has a role to fulfill on the team, and without each component and help from everyone, things might fall through the cracks. It’s having that trust in your team to know that at the end of the day, even though you are looking to advance your own career and improve your skills, it’s all about doing what’s best for the team and the client.
Sometimes you’ve got to take one for the team: We’ve all been put in a position where we’ve had to step outside our comfort zone, and/or complete a project or attend our event that wasn’t at the top of our list, but it’s important to look at the situation from a different perspective. This is an opportunity to show your team that you can handle any type of project assigned to you, and at the end of the day, it’s going to help you get more experience.
What goes around comes around: This statement is usually associated with a negative connotation, but for me it means that if you go above and beyond for someone, they are more likely to do the same for you. A big part of this statement is true with your teammates. We’ve all been put in situations where we are faced with a project or task that we know we aren’t able to complete by the specified deadline, but when you have great teammates, you know they totally have your back. I’ve learned to recognized the right time to step in and help a teammate out – it’s not about counting how many times a person has helped someone else out, rather, knowing that when you need help, your team is there for you.
Encouragement and a quick, “thank you,” goes a long way: We all look for that reassurance from our managers and clients to tell us that we are doing a good job, but with so many moving pieces in PR, sometimes these types of encouragement aren’t communicated. It’s not because you are doing a bad job, but more that projects and deliverables are constantly moving forward. What I’ve tried to do more as I’ve moved up in my career, is to take a step back and show a little appreciation for what your teammates are doing. Whether it’s a quick one-off email, or dropping by your teammate’s desk to tell them what a great job they are doing – the confidence that you pass along can really help keep that individual working hard. Plus, by showing that you have confidence in your teammates, it gives them the self-assurance that they got this!