I love it when good teamwork happens. Helen Keller once said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

There are important elements that make a well synchronized team. Members must be able to depend on one another, trust, communicate, listen, be open to ideas and encourage.

When a partner on the team is dependable, the other members know they can count on that partner to fulfill their responsibilities, be present for the team, and accomplish a fair share of the tasks. They are interdependent, relying on each other, and in tune with one another.

Trusting your teammate is crucial. When there is trust, there is an assurance that all are working for the same result. The team has a common goal with the best interest of all in mind. They are loyal to one another, defend one another, and present as a united front.

Good teamwork is dependent on good communication. Communication not only comes in the form of expressing your own ideas, but also being open to hearing others' ideas. Truly listening to partners of the team involves eliminating your own agenda, and taking all ideas into consideration.

Utilize good listening skills. As a partner speaks, give them your undivided attention, face them, give eye contact, think about what they are saying, how their idea can be incorporated, and what feelings your teammate may be having about the progress toward the goal.

Once all have been heard, as a team weigh the pros and cons and expand on concepts and contributions.

Encourage one another with positive words. “Thank you” goes a long way. Specifically identify what the teammate has contributed or accomplished. Genuinely express appreciation for your team by telling them, patting them on the back, sharing a smile, hand shake, or hug.

Some of the teams we are members of in our lives may be taken for granted. Be committed to your teams, whether it be your marriage, co-parenting your children, being a team with your child's teacher, church committees, community groups, neighbors, and friendships.

And lastly, remember the words of Benjamin Franklin “We must all hang together or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Be happy.

— Linda Yearout

Licensed Clinical Marriage & Family Therapist