Successful Teamwork Takes a Combination of Talents and Skills

Whether you’re a leader or a follower – a go-getter or an introvert – don’t underestimate the important role you play on a team.

Now that school is back in session, chances are you’ll find yourself assigned to teams for class projects, interacting with others on sports teams and working with fellow FFA members on new chapter officer teams.

Whether you’re a leader or a follower – a go-getter or an introvert – don’t underestimate the important role you play on a team. Teams require all kinds of personalities to function effectively.

“Team is defined by Webster’s as a group of people working together to achieve a common goal,” says 2010-2011 National FFA President Riley Pagett. “If we are to work together to achieve a goal, we first have to learn to develop relationships with others, no matter our backgrounds, and celebrate success together.”

Have you ever thought about what role you play on a team and what your strengths are? There are two types of roles people play on teams – human relations-oriented roles and task-oriented roles. Task-oriented roles are action roles such as contributors and information seekers. Human relations-oriented roles relate to working together and include encouragers, compromisers and standard setters. (Learn more about these roles in our sidebar.)

Riley says he and his fellow national officers each play unique roles that complement one another’s strengths.

“For instance, Shannon comforts with kindness and makes each person feel they are the most important person in the world,” Riley describes. “Wyatt adds energy to each day. His positive attitude and enthusiasm are admirable. Tiffany is the real deal. She is a relater who makes real connections with members young and old. James exhibits extreme professionalism and speaks in a way that draws others in. Landan shares and gives. He has a heart of gold, is wise beyond his years and gives a piece of himself to everyone he comes in contact with.”

Team leadership styles can also be influenced by teachers, mentors, and friends and family members you look up to. People often learn to lead by example by adopting the habits of others whom they admire.

“People don’t become leaders to be leaders, but to serve as leaders,” Riley says. “I have learned valuable leadership skills through my Granddaddy Everett, my youth minister, past state officers, my state executive secretary Kent Boggs and others who have played a vital role in my life. My leadership style has been modeled after these people.”