What does effective teamwork look like to you? While there are a handful of universal truths, it looks and feels different for each individual and every team.
This concept was recently explored by Jo Miller, CEO of BeLeaderly, an organization that offers workshops, webinars, and coaching programs for emerging female leaders. Jo discussed the notion of teamwork and its continual evolution in the corporate space, focusing on the five rules below:
Show all the way up. Don’t just RSVP, fully commit by bringing a POV and using engaging language like “I recommend… “ or “I’d prefer…”
Use the magic ratio. Studies show that top-performing teams give five positive comments for every one criticism. Be sure to call out what works, not just what doesn’t.
Rally people around a cause. Create a shared sense of purpose. Projects can transcend “work” to become a mission when the entire team builds an identity around a cause.
Leverage cognitive diversity. Consider people’s different work styles. Remember the human element – avoid being “all business.”
Make it psychologically safe. Contribute to an environment that makes team members feel safe to take risks and show vulnerability. Share airtime, frame work as learning, and acknowledge fallibility.
Each rule above was discussed in depth, but leveraging cognitive diversity really stood out to me. Cognitive diversity emerges naturally when we work with others. It’s the differences in perspective or information processing styles. When we think of diversity, we tend to think of demographics like gender, ethnicity, or age. But cognitive diversity is less visible, referring to how individuals think about and engage with new, uncertain, and complex situations.
Fostering cognitive diversity can be a challenge since we are all subject to our own biases, which are essentially human errors in how we think based on personal experiences and shortcuts we’ve developed. But if we’re constantly surrounding ourselves with people who are similar to us and have similar shared experiences, we miss the opportunity to truly learn from each other. In fact, collective intelligence and performance both increase as groups become more diverse in personality, according to Harvard Business Review.
Consider the different personalities, or "work styles" below:
Once you identify what you're most aligned with, you can start to tune into other people's styles and become more aware of the cognitive diversity (or lack thereof) on your team. Tuning into teamwork in this way can help you work smarter and faster individually, and collaborate more effectively together.