Working in teams has become the norm within organizations and partnerships. However, with many challenges of our „VUCA world“ – full of volatility, uncertainty, complexity & umbiguity – succesful collaboration requires setting up a particular kind of more flexible & purpose-oriented teamwork:
Teaming is about identifying essential collaborators, understanding each others` strengths, values and needs. In order to effectively co-create & jointly work towards a shared purpose and to – simply put – get things done.
Teaming is based on the principles of self-organization (aka teams defining their own solutions to their challenges) which are being introduced even in more traditional working environments, complementing and/or replacing traditional organizational hierarchies.
For highly creative teams Teaming is no news: When working with teams in Research & Development and in the field of Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation, we were often impressed how naturally they use their capacity to build relationships in order to raise impact through collaboration. In our book chapter, together with the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie, we feature a number of impressive examples. (link to the book CSR & Social Enterprise, in German).
Teaming is built on 3 key elements of a (truly) collaborative skill & mindset:
- Curiosity drives people to find out what others know, need and what they bring to the table. It enables the kind of Growth Mindset needed for working and learning in teams.
- Empathy enables us to see another’s perspective & feel other people`s emotions (Daniel Goleman). It enables us to truly learn by asking genuine questions and by listening deeply when it comes to team members` diverse perspectives. When empathy is accompanied by an intrinsic motivation to act in a positive & helpful way, it becomes compassion: A truly compassionate perspective can elevate collaboration beyond idea comparison or polite compromise.
- Self-awareness is the kind of presence which enables a clear mind to observe ourselves and others without being excessively identified with our own believes, or without being overwhelmed by our emotions. This is particularly critical for decision making, creative processes and collective learning in organizations.
Why are these skills particularly important for succesful Teaming?
Teaming is often introduced to navigate constantly changing conditions, which people typically perceive as stressful: Joining a new team or starting a challenging new project can feel like a high risk endeavour. When we feel under stress, self-protection becomes a natural instinct leaving us unable to understand differing view points, making us attached to „our“ ideas or following our impulses towards competition instead of cooperation. Under such stressful circumstances teams can become emotional incubators. Thus it takes conscious work to shift our „autopilot“ responses that often determine our thinking & acting when we are under stress.
Research shows that the required skill and mindset for Teaming can be strengthened by Mindfulness-based practices in organizations. This way, Teaming can become an integral part of organizational culture enabling sustainable impact through collaboration.