What goes around, comes around in nature and in networks

For some people, teamwork online comes naturally. Some people are able to understand directly how they could use their own expertise and networks to help others and how to help move the community forward towards its goals. Team spirit is sort of a service minded attitude that some people have in their backbone. A team-oriented person sees the community's interest and his own interest as the same thing.
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Some people need more guidance and motivation for teamwork. In both cases, clear goals are needed in the long and short term. From the manager's point of view, it is important to consider, how are goals set and communicated, how are goals committed to, and how is the achievement of goals monitored remotely? One tool for this is strong value management.

Values influence at the deepest possible level

Shared values guide our actions in a profound way, because values are our own beliefs about what is true and important. Values unite and separate people.

People have several values, which order of importance may vary. Sometimes values can cause internal conflicts, sometimes also external ones. It is difficult to rank values and they are always culture-bound even to the extent that they are strongly linked to success in society and working life. But you also have to recruit the right kind of people to the team. We need the right kind of people in the right place so that everyone has room to grow, live and breathe freely.

An individual will inevitably run into conflicts, if the values are in conflict with others. Then it will also be difficult to succeed. The stressful conflict of values can be caused by a child struggling with homework at home and asking for help, and at the same time a colleague demanding attention in a remote meeting. Who deserves attention in that situation? Common game rules and empathy are needed, and that expectations are clearly communicated.

In remote work, sharing information is particularly important

In remote work, you have to remind about goals yourself and your colleagues more often than in traditional work, where you meet them almost every day. In addition, the tasks and their monitoring must now be in the cloud at the latest. These can be, for example, a test database or a project management tool. A dashboard is needed, from which the manager and team members can see the pace and progress of the project. You have to continue forward and overcome various obstacles while learning new things.
Information is an endless resource. When people trust each other, value each other and their workplace, information and knowledge is both received and shared. When information is shared, new practices, even innovations will come up.

Nutrients, warmth and pruning are needed, but also space and peace

A team player can remotely help his team in many ways. Just as the forest is the richest in diversity, there is a diversity of richness in the team as well. A person helps their team by providing:

  • Own time
  • Raising the will of the team and raising the collective spirit
  • Knowledge of the rules and the ability to deal with bureaucracy
  • Networks
  • Help by bringing together the right people and new partners

In addition to various complementary competences, a functional team structure is needed, i.e. everyone has their own role, goals and complementary tasks. Even in the forest, young sprouts, old evergreens, colorful lingonberries and different kinds of trees grow side by side. Everyone needs each other to succeed.

Expert work - like the forest - never runs dry. When you turn around in the berry forest and look at the same rot from a slightly different perspective, there is something new to pick up. New sprouts are growing in the spruce and new saplings are growing in the forest square. Sometimes it's time to cut out the old to make room for the new to grow.

Author: Päivi Lohikoski, Ph.D.in Tech, University of Oulu's Kerttu Saalasti Institute