Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Teamwork trumps

Raw talent will only take you so far. In today's increasingly complex business environment, there is widespread recognition that it is team-based effort that brings competitive edge and that a motivated team working together with a clear objective can achieve astonishing results.

That's why employers are increasingly looking for good teamwork skills in their new hires or in those employees they will consider for promotion, which makes teamwork an important skill in today's workplace.

If you want to advance your career, you also need to perform well in a team environment. Unfortunately, the focus on individual skills and capability has detracted from the skill of team play.

While strong and inspiring leadership is important in getting the best from a team used to high performance on a personal level, there are also steps to developing your own teamwork skills. Seek chances to work in a group, such as by joining a committee, project group or even a sporting team.

Actively listen to others and their points of view, even if they differ from yours. Don't shoot down ideas you don't agree with. Instead, be open to suggestions and, if necessary, respectfully suggest how ideas might be improved. Offer encouragement or assistance to colleagues if appropriate.

Remember to communicate effectively. Contribute by explaining your ideas clearly, ask questions and start conversations. Defend your ideas if necessary, but be ready to adapt them. Take your share of responsibility and be prepared to help others. Finally, be willing to learn. You may be surprised what you can learn from colleagues.

Marc Burrage, regional director of Hays in Hong Kong