Collaborating and Communicating on a Team
Having goals puts purpose and mission into specific terms. Sharing those goals and the purpose they support is essential to building teamwork.
Whether the goal is clear from the start or emerges over time with youth and staff input, having and naming the shared goal helps set the group up for success. As with purpose, common goals provide a shared investment in an outcome that transcends individuals. It provides a rallying point for making shared decisions, navigating disagreements, and deciding who will do what.
Effective teamwork takes a certain set of skills that can broadly be termed “communication skills.” These skills include turn-taking, active listening, respectful disagreement, and communicating clearly. For youth to learn healthy teamwork skills, effective and respectful communication needs to be valued and normative. For many programs, establishing group norms and expectations for communicating is a process that typically occurs in the first few meetings and is then reinforced throughout the year.
Collaboration on a project requires that youth learn to communicate with each other. At YWCA Boston (YW Boston), youth who attend the same school may, for the first time, be working together on a project. Beth Chandler, Vice President of Programs, explained:
They aren’t necessarily friends before they get here, so there are challenges in learning to work with people who may have different work styles. You have to learn to listen actively because you need to hear where everybody is coming from so you can try to all move in a direction that you all agree on.
Join the Discussion
How does your program help youth understand why teamwork skills are necessary?