None of us is as smart as all of us.

~ Ken Blanchard

We all hear so much about Teamwork. Yes, it’s so special it gets a capital “T”. Quotes about it are framed and hung in offices to remind us of its importance. We get memes and inspirational emails about it. Teamwork lives and breathes in our personal lives, too. Our families and friends remind us how it is effective to come together to complete duties and tasks. I mean, nobody moves on their own. You are always going to call someone with a pick-up truck to help… hopefully someone under 30.

But in the workplace, being on a team looks a lot different than it did in the past.

Traditionally, being part of a team meant you were physically around your teammates. Today we’re still selling the same concept except we can be on the same team and operate nowhere near one another.

So how does a leader keep the idea of teamwork alive?

I’m sure there are many perfect answers to that question. Bill Gates could probably speak for an hour about it. There are tools and training that can be provided, for sure.

But isn’t the answer different depending on the employee?

Because everyone has unique requirements that make them feel appreciated and included. And when we feel valued, the team is more successful. But not just the leader has to be vigilant, so does everyone else since we are all metaphorically rowing the same boat.

Are you sharing your knowledge?

Are you approachable?

Do you thank those that stopped what they were doing to help you out of a bind?

Since many of us do not see each other daily and our communication is mostly through chat and emails, it is even more important to step out of our comfort zones and be there for our teammates. I realize it isn’t a perfect world. All we can do is try. For those of us who are fortunate to work with very smart people, take advantage of your team… don’t be shy about asking questions. Even if you think it’s a dumb one. Just throw it out there. Trust me, your team gets used to it! I promise you, what you learn will be worth your initial discomfort.

And if you never have the need to ask a dumb question, first, good for you, it must be nice, and second, please be patient with the rest of us.