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There are many situations in workplace life where peers work together. It can be challenging in these instances since it is not an employer/employee relationship. In an employer/employee relationship, it is common for an employer to assign tasks to the employee and manage the assignment. However, when working with peers, it is important to figure out how to accomplish tasks without seeming commanding. This article is intended to offer suggestions for these situations.
1. Don’t be too direct
In many instances, it’s important to take the philosophy of asking and not telling. Remember to delegate responsibilities instead of assigning tasks. Let others decide on their own what tasks they want to assist with instead of being direct and giving orders. By allowing team members to take ownership of their responsibilities, you empower the team to contribute meaningfully. Please note that I said the team and not your team. It is very important to be cautious when using the term ‘my team.’ Some individuals may have issues using that phrase when the team includes one of my peers.
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2. Let people do things their own way
Many people, myself included, have strong opinions on how certain tasks should be done. With these strong opinions, it is easy to want others on your team to perform tasks like you would. Embrace diversity and realize that you do not have all the answers. You need to show the team that you want to collaborate and that each team member may do things in their own way. By letting people do things their way, you provide a positive work environment and show others that you value their opinions and perspectives.
3. Be careful of micromanaging
No one likes to micromanage, but it is easy to find yourself micromanaging without having the intention of micromanaging. Be open-minded and allow others to work at their own pace. It is ok to follow up with your teammates to check on progress, but you need to figure out how to do this appropriately. I like to put reminders on my calendars to check in and then stick to the dates I put on the calendar. Since I tend to be impatient, having the dates on my calendar of when to follow up is helpful.
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Ask questions such as “What are your thoughts on this?” or “How do you think we should proceed?” This will help foster a team effort within the group. It is essential that if you do not agree to voice your opinion, it is also important the way that you express your thoughts. You want to be open-minded and provide a democratic decision-making process to help maintain a positive team focused on success.
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5. Dial it down
It is important not to overwhelm others. Remember to dial it down if you are being too assertive. You do not want to be intimidating and make others uncomfortable. Everyone has different hats, and everyone has their own set of responsibilities. Next time you think you might be coming on too strong, remember to stay calm and work on dialing your approach down. Solutions on how to dial it down can be as simple as how you phrase your comments. Using phrases such as “Could we consider” or “I was thinking about” helps in the process of not being controlling.
6. Be on the same page
If everyone on the team does not have the same general goals and desire to complete a task, the task will suffer. If you feel that your team is not headed in the same direction, have a conversation to discuss. It might be as simple as resolving a misunderstanding to get you back on track. It is essential to establish clear communication channels as early on as possible. Doing so will make it easier for all of the team to be on the same page. When a team works to be on the same page, the team operates collectively, minimizing the chances of divergent efforts.
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7. Acknowledge contributions and celebrate wins
Remember to be supportive and acknowledge when others’ work assists the team’s efforts. Make it a point to show gratitude for the contributions of individual team members. Celebrate wins no matter what their size is. These celebrations do not need to be huge; more importantly, they need to occur. Celebrations can be simple, like a delicious treat or a happy hour for the team to bond and enjoy their success.