How to be a Good Team Player in a Design Agency
Working in a creative agency can be tricky. Not saying working in any other companies is easy, but let's be honest, creative industry has the weirdest, most eccentric people. Thus, they call it 'creative', a polite substitute for 'freak'. Just kidding! (not really!)
Branding is a team effort. It requires all kinds of different parts to work simultaneously. Many designers feel at their best element when they are working alone. But working in a branding agency, you can't do everything at once and for the best possible outcome, collaboration is the key. Even if you don't consider yourself a team player, you will have to work in a team and as a team for your brand to grow. With different kinds of people working together, teamwork can and will be a challenge.
How then can you contribute in the best way to your brand growth in a team?
Understand Yourself, How You Work
We are all complex, unique and often paradoxical beings. Before you demand others to try and understand how you work, understand yourself. People can be introverted or extroverted, great at planning or great at doing, love spotlight or prefer to stay behind the scene, great at desk job or field job. One can be introverted but loves public speaking, that is actually quiet possible. There are all different kinds of personalties people might have.
You need to know yours. You need to know how you function in order to understand your collaboration style and your role in the team. If it turns out you are not a team player, you will need to find a way around it by addressing that you are not a team player first. What kind of a non-team player are you? How can you still contribute to the team?
There are many tools and tests that can help you understand yourself better, the MBTI personalities are highly praised for being very accurate. There is also The DISC personality profiling that is designed to help people understand their strengths and communicate better.
Know Your Teammates
Once you understand yourself, it will be easier to understand others. You will never understand them like you do yourself, but it gets easier. You will start to see where your teammates come from when they share an opinion. This will create a better dynamic in the coordination and communication because understanding usually precedes respect.
A good communication between team members is the most important thing in a teamwork. If you are assigned a project that doesn't play to your strength and you know someone in your team who would do it better, say it, offer other solution. The main objective is to have the best possible outcome.
Always Show Up
Creative people often do not like schedules and restrains but in a branding agency they are necessary. Even if you don't feel like it, show up anyway. Unless you're really sick, show up. Take the time alone that you need to work on your own but for important meetings and brainstorming sessions, always be there. Being there is a respectful gesture you show to your teammates, it also builds a sense of commitment in your mind. You also don't want to miss out on any important details of the project and end up with tons of revisions, right?
"Own" Your Mistakes and Recognize Your Emotions
Understand that some creative minds may have the weirdest ideas and they may work differently to yours. When something goes wrong, most of the times, miscommunication is the main cause and the blame game will only slow down the work and break your team apart. Learn to own your mistakes. Stop focusing on the problem and work on the solution instead. When working on a project in a branding agency or any other companies, disagreement is bound to happen and mistakes are bound to be made. You need to react well. Face it as a team. Keep your head cool and find the best possible solution from the situation.
It may be easier said than done, but there is no other way. Develop your emotional intelligence as you go. The emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.