A unit of a team has more power than the individuals within it. Yet every single person within the team needs to feel they are making their own contribution and understand why they are on the team and what they are bringing to the party. We all need to think and feel: “this is my space – and I know the reason why I’m here.’
We are going to explore why unique contribution is so integral to allowing teams to create and experience ‘flow’ together. Flow is the optimum state of intrinsic motivation, in which people experience peak performance and greater wellbeing.
Teams are made up of diverse individuals with complementary and integrated skills. In high-performing teams, this group will add up to more than the sum of its parts and be able to achieve far more than one person would. To achieve that high performance and get closer to a flow state, every single person needs to feel they are making their own unique contribution and understand what they are bringing to the team. They need to understand their own knowledge, skills and strengths and have clarity on how that contributes to team performance and overall organisational purpose.
Achieving this brings a host of benefits. People are more likely to be respectful of others’ contributions and less likely to step on other people’s toes or unknowingly duplicate work. It also allows people to have a voice and be authentic, bringing their whole selves to work. According to the CIPD, effective voice contributes toward innovation, productivity and organisational improvement for organisations, and results in increased job satisfaction, greater influence and better opportunities for development for individuals. When everyone understands their own unique contribution – and respects those of others – collaboration becomes seamless.
In times of change and disruption, we need to work together more collaboratively than ever before.
Achieving team flow through unique contribution
If you want to achieve team flow, here are some tips on maximising the value of unique contribution:
1. Do you know what knowledge, skills and strengths individuals bring to the team? Do your team members understand their own strengths and those of their colleagues? Explore work around identifying strengths and then talk about how these strengths play together for effective collaboration.
2. Purposefully and thoughtfully allocate work to draw on the diversity of skills and strengths within your team. Individuals should be matched with work that fits their skills levels and strengths. Team flow needs a high level of skills integration to be successful.
4. Ensure there are regular discussions that allow team members to talk about their knowledge, skills and strengths development. Team members should understand each other’s skills, strengths and interests.
If you are interested in finding out more about TeamFlow, our upcoming series of newsletters will explore in detail the concepts behind it, as well as giving you tips on how to encourage TeamFlow within your team.