Teamwork People Skills: Are You Making It Hard? #Peopleskills

Teamwork People Skills: Are You Making It Hard to Be Comfortable w/ Each Other?

When business teams form, they have much to achieve.  Stakes generally range from high to astronomic.   Even infrastructure teams — often mislabeled as less critical — greatly impact business success.  So my question to teams is:


Why Work So Hard at Being Uncomfortable w/ Each Other?

Make teamwork interaction easy! The effort is the same.

Teamwork People Skills: Image is Sign Post w/ Blame Words

Teamwork People Skills: Are You Making It Hard?
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Teamwork People Skills: Make It Easier to Be Comfortable w/ Each Other

  • Be welcoming not wary.

    Getting to know each other can be fun, exciting, and uplifting. So can working with each other. Start with curiosity and wonder not with statements and pigeon holing.

    “Who is this interesting person?” is a far better mindset than “This person is a ________________________.” The former makes the interaction easy. The latter makes it hard. Why make it hard to be comfortable with each other?

  • Skip the labels.

    Labels shut down communication. “You are overreacting. You are being difficult. You are _______________.” These statements intensify negative emotion. This makes it hard to be comfortable.

    Make teamwork easy. Use your energy to understand instead of label. It closes the gaps. It build bonds of success. Why make it tough?

  • Discuss the exit at the beginning.

    When team members interact, they identify the business goal. Yet disagreements still swirl and people get frustrated because they have different exit outcomes for that interaction. This makes interacting hard!

    Make it easy. Pinpoint the desired exit outcome at the beginning of every interaction. People have many interactions to achieve a business goal. Are you interacting to — identify obstacles, explore options, follow procedure, come to agreement? What exit outcome do you both want for that interaction?

    When you skip this step, you make it hard. After 25 years of developing teams, I can guarantee you that this step will make every teamwork interaction easier!

  • Give up the gossip.

    Gossip is what team members do when they don’t want to or don’t know how to say things directly to each other. Gossip is the outward sign that you have made teamwork and interacting difficult.

    Make it easy. Ask yourselves, is it really necessary to say it? If yes, say it honestly with care not blunt with emotion.

    If it’s not important to say because it may not be true, then don’t say it. Gossip reduces trust. It makes teamwork difficult. Why make it hard to be comfortable with each other?

  • Bury blame forever.

    If there is one thing that can make teamwork interaction hard, it is a culture of blame. Pointing fingers, accusations, and ego assaults are a whole lot of energy spent on being uncomfortable with each other.

    Make it easy. Breed accountability not blame. Replace the daily assaults of “you should have” and “why didn’t you” with open-ended questions to unearth the issues and find solutions. Blame makes interacting difficult. Ownership and accountability make it easy.

  • Speak positively not negatively; forward not back.

    Words matter. They make it easy to interact or difficult to connect.

    Make it easy. State what you need or want instead of what you don’t like. Forward energy is uplifting and exciting. Negativity and a focus on the past make others feel stuck.

  • Appreciate and compliment talents.

    If you really want to make interaction easy, compliment and show appreciation for each others’ strengths. Everyone needs a boost to feel comfortable and a sincere compliment goes a long way.

    I see so many teams living in a neutral culture. They never say “You are so good at __________!” Without this spirit of appreciation, discomfort can flourish.

    Nourish appreciation and you nourish comfort. Here are 25 Talents to Appreciate in Others to get you started.

  • Respect individuality.

    Comparing people to their predecessors or even to each other is energy spent directly on being uncomfortable.

    No two people are alike so why invest time in this folly? It’s a lot like going out on a first date with someone who compares you to their ex. It’s all the discomfort of a first date — times ten.

    Make teamwork interaction easy. Learn about each other without comparison. Even before you do formal team building, get to know each other casually. It builds trust and respect the easy way.

Welcome, explore, respect, learn, and grow. Make interaction easy instead of difficult. The effort is the same and the results far better.

If a team member proves to be unworthy of the team’s trust, you will handle it as needed. Being uncomfortable along the way won’t change this outcome. Making it easy to get to know each other might make a difference and you will also have the comfort of knowing you all gave it your best shot.

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” ~Carlos Castanada

What else can team members do to be comfortable with each other? I hope you will add your view in the comments section below.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Post:
People Skills: Essentials to Seeing Others’ Views
Teamwork: Essential Beliefs to Achieving Interdependence

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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10 Responses to “Teamwork People Skills: Are You Making It Hard? #Peopleskills”

  1. Carl says:

    A great post Kate, thank you! I know I will be referring back to this one. 🙂

    Best regards,

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thank you Carl. It came from a place I’ve lived for many years and help everyone to find everyday.

      So glad you find it helpful in your professional life!

  2. John Bennett says:

    I would add one additional step, as crazy as it might seem: As a team, develop what I’ve always called a Team Performance Agreement or TPA. It’s a written (and regularly updated) contract among team members, outlining how the team will operate. Questions such as “what will we do if we can’t decide between two or more brainstormed ideas for proceeding” or “what will be the ‘punishment’ of a team member who does not complete he task he volunteered to do OR alerted the team of difficulties in a timely manner” should be ironed out before beginning the team effort.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Something to ponder for sure John. Some believe that formulating a team performance agreement limits excellence others think it feeds it. Thank you for bringing this issue up here!

      Regards and thanks,

  3. Marcus Dwinger says:

    Dear Kate,

    I really like you advises and I am pretty sure to get the most from it. In additional to it, I would like to have your comments in my current professional life: I am working in a company with a very low overall performance and the whole team is very negative and more focused in gossip.
    I have very challenged goals and very good ideas to bring a good results to the company and I am accomplishing it. The problem is: My team work is always complaining in gossip like: He is tough! He thinks he is always right!He is looking to his best interest only.

    How do you recomend me to behave with them and make the interation easy?



    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Marcus,
      Your question is a good one and actually a bit complex. I can help you once I know more about your situation. Pls. send me an email and I will be happy to reply there!

      Best regards,

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