There is a strong emphasis on the value of teamwork in Canadian workplaces. The general belief is that a well-aligned team will always outperform individual efforts.
The Canadian workplace is, for the most part, built around teamwork and consensus — meaning the goal is to reach an agreement between all team members to form the main guidelines for any actions taken on specific work activities.
How to Become a Great Team Player
Your new workplace is your new professional family so it is important to make a conscious effort to ‘fit in,’ build rapport and trust as well as establish a great working relationship with your new team. Here are three ways to effectively integrate into a Canadian workplace team.
1. Be Curious. Someone who shows genuine interest in others and their ideas will make other team members feel noticed and valued. Asking questions, especially in conversations, helps you learn about your team members and demonstrates your interest in being a part of that team. It also helps you learn more about workplace dynamics, the team and your role in it. To build rapport, it also helps to have friendly conversations with team members about their hobbies, interests and other topics.
2. Ask for Help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is an opportunity to learn and helps you become a more valuable member of the team. When you do have questions, be sure to respect your colleagues’ time by asking in advance if it’s okay to approach them with questions and then schedule a meeting to discuss your questions.
3. Offer Your Skills. Offering your skills, support and past experience demonstrates your value to your new team. However, tread carefully so as not to appear to be disparaging of the work that has been done at the organization to date. Follow the What’s Working Well/Even Better With (WWW/EBW) rule when providing feedback or past experience as it is a more respectful way to present your thoughts. (E.g. “Sue, I like where you are going with this document. I’m thinking it may be a bit more accurate if we add this piece of information. What do you think?”)
Be prepared to provide proof or examples of when your approach worked well in the past. And remember that some work processes are established for reasons you may not yet be aware of; be sure to ask questions to get the full picture before presenting your idea to the team.