Danielle August 5, 2011 | 08:34:16

What Summer Sports Teach Us About Teamwork

Summer offers up the opportunity to participate in outdoor sports, either with friends or on a league. As a member of a competitive 125-person dragon boat team (it’s like crew but a different paddling style), I’ve learned a lot of positive tips about teamwork that transfer to officework. Each dragon boat consists of 20 people so harmony and compromise are a must, so are the following:

Be humble. The coaches take into consideration how 20 people best work together. Some races I’m on the “A” boat, and others I’m on the “B” boat, which does not mean a demotion, just the right decision for that race.
— In the office: you may sometimes be asked to do work that you feel you are “past” – binding PR presentations, stuffing gift bags for an event – but sometimes that is just what’s needed for that assignment. Your talent isn’t being wasted; it’s being appreciated because you’re helping your team get the job done.

Communicate. During a race, everyone needs to know what “calls” are being made so that you can change your plan of action in order to succeed. That means everyone.
— In the office: Maybe everyone doesn’t need to know everything – but learn who needs to know what! Copy appropriate parties on emails, keep your supervisors updated, and have regular team meetings/recaps so that there’s no overlap in work or questions on direction.

Make the most of it. Dragon boat practice is four times a week, for 2-3 hours each, and there are between 7-9 races a summer that require weekend travel. It’s a tough sport, but also fun and rewarding.
In the office: Work is approximately 40 hours a week (more in a busy PR firm!) That’s often more time than you spend at home or with close friends! Make the most of it.  Engage your co-workers in conversation that isn’t work-related, and participate in team outings. These strengthened bonds will result in more productive and efficient work!

What have you learned from summer sports or camp that you transfer to workplace?

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