Surmounting Your Best: Work in a Team

“It is a pity that doing one’s best does not always answer.”— Charlotte Brontë

Indeed, it is quite the pity when we invest ourselves entirely in a project, expecting to see like returns because of the effort we put in, but receive the reverse of the results that we want, to our dismay. Unfortunately, this will happen time and again throughout our lives. As they say, nothing goes according to plan. What then can we do to minimise our encounters with such situations?

First and foremost, we have to realise that working alone can only take us so far. This is because as a person, we are by ourselves limited in how much we know, in our skills and abilities. After all, knowledge is infinite, and there is no way that we can know everything about the world, everything about people, everything. By realising this, especially to those of us who are particularly averse towards working with others, it becomes easier to accept others, for their views and for themselves, which can be a potential game-changer.

Next, we have to learn how to avoid prevent able failure stemming from within ourselves. To the extent that we are the limiting factor to the success of a project, then no matter how much effort we put in, there is only so much that will show.

Granted, this may make it seem as though the individual is then insignificant. However, this fails to recognise the contributions that an individual can make in a team.  A person is by definition unique, and by having the opinions of different people in a project, by welcoming their input, it is possible to obtain new angles from which the project can be seen, bringing into view possible pitfalls which would have remained hidden otherwise, which can then be prevented or avoided. After all, people join a team, each equipped with a different set of skills and specialisations. This point aptly encapsulates the importance of working in teams: each person has unique contributions that only he is able to make. Thus, while the team is important, its constituents are equally important, if not more so.

Ultimately, it all boils down to the realisation that there is a clear difference between willingness and working smart. The former undoubtedly is important as it translates into motivation which stimulates a person to invest himself in a project, and ‘do his best’. However, it can only take a team so far, and eventually becomes more of a hindrance than anything, which is where being able to work smart, being able to adapt, comes into play, for it allows one to surpass the boundaries set by the former. Doing one’s best may not answer, but when we work together with others, what is our best in comparison to the collective effort by all?