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Relay Race: Working Effectively in a Team

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published on: 15 Aug 2016

Passing Baton

This month, RICS Recruit will show you how to take your job hunt to Olympic levels and make sure you take home the gold.

Working well as part of a team is an important skill for career development. Regardless of your role, you will have to cooperate with other people and contribute to team projects. You want to make sure you’re helping your team succeed, and not be the one lagging in last place.

Being part of a team doesn’t just mean knowing how to do your part – you have to know what your teammates are doing, when you need to speed up or slow down, when to hold the baton and when to pass it along.

So what does it take to be part of an Olympic-level team? Here are our tips.

Assess skills and weaknesses

One of the first things you should do in any team is learn where each person’s skills lie, and then play to those strengths. For instance, if you know one of your colleagues is good at time management, put them in charge of scheduling. If another excels at risk assessment, then put them in a position to identify any potential failings in your plans.

Knowing your teammates’ weaknesses is equally important. You don’t want to assign tasks that they won’t be able to accomplish. Taking some time to get to know everyone is best as it will make everyone’s job that much easier.


While it can be tempting to take the baton and run the whole race yourself, you’ll just tire yourself out and be left in the dust if you do. Putting part of the project in someone else’s hands will give you more time to focus on your specific task and fulfil your responsibilities.

Define duties

The last thing you want in a pool relay is to have two swimmers diving in at the same time and crashing into each other. Similarly, when working on a project you want to make sure that your team doesn’t have any overlapping roles or unassigned tasks.

Make it clear what each person is responsible for and make a note so you can refer to it later: write a list including every task, and ensure someone is taking care of each.


Whatever your role is in a team, you need to make sure you take care of your specific tasks. A team is only as fast as its slowest swimmer, and you don’t want to be the one dragging everyone else down.

Beyond completing your assigned tasks, this also means contributing to group discussions, sharing your ideas and pointing out problems. You want to be an active member of the team, driving everyone else forward along with you.

Respect others’ contributions

While you want to make sure your voice is heard, you don’t want to drown out what everyone else has to say. Listening to others’ ideas is as important as voicing your own.

It’s also vital to remember that every contribution, no matter how small, is important. Giving your teammates the respect they deserve is essential to keep the project progressing smoothly.

Show your team spirit

Cheering on your teammates is as important in the office as it is on the track. Everyone’s morale can drop when issues start to pile up, so giving a little encouragement now and then can be all that’s needed for the final sprint to the finish.

Image: Tableatny