Tuesday Trainings: The power of working as a team

Teamwork is an integral part of the WordPress Community. We couldn’t build the WordPress Open SourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. Project without excellent collaboration! As a WordPress community organizer, you are encouraged to bring on as many fellow co-organizers and volunteers as possible to help organize a WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. or a meetupMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook.. There are a number of excellent reasons for this. So for today’s Training Tuesday, let’s dive into the power of working as a team, and the hallmarks of healthy collaboration. 

Aligned teams have similar values

To be clear, this doesn’t mean you always have to agree with each other. It just means that you have some anchoring, shared values that guide your work as a team. Having a shared objective is a sturdy foundation for any team, and allows you to bring on board more people who share your enthusiasm for WordPress. The goal of all WordPress community events is to connect WordPress enthusiasts to each other, to inspire people to do more with WordPress, and to empower people to contribute to WordPress. These goals draw people to our events, and is a powerful shared vision for community organizers to mobilize around! 

Collaborative teams amplify each others brain power

Community organizing requires lots of decision making and planning. A strong team will have multiple perspectives, making for more intriguing and thoughtful brainstorming. By building on each other’s ideas, finding that winning idea is more readily possible! Collaborative teams are also able to help each other prioritize and plan to make exceptional ideas a reality. 

Teammates empower each other

Not only can you rely on each others’ skills, but it’s also so much easier to pick up new skills when you have considerate teammates to partner with! Working with each other allows us to more quickly grow and learn by virtue of participation and partnership. Plus, if we have new ideas, having a supportive team makes it much easier to go boldly forward. 

Strong teams are flexible and adaptable

When a team’s progress is reliant on one or a few individuals, the community is at risk. A lot of responsibility is placed on those individuals, putting them at higher risk for burnout. Should anything happen to these individuals, the whole team may find themselves stuck or stalled. 

Conversely, strong teams that practice regular collaboration and knowledge sharing will be more prepared to face any situation together, be it organizing a WordCamp or facing a transition in leadership. For instance, if an organizer needs to suddenly step away due to an emergency, another team member would be able to step in and cover those tasks. 

Diverse teams have extended reach and depth

When it comes to growing your team, think about how inclusive and diverse you are across gender, culture, age, etc. With more organizers and volunteers with different experiences and backgrounds, you’ll be able to leverage each other’s unique perspectives, not to mention skill sets, to tackle any situation. Diverse teams have an easier time growing naturally as well, as your community will be able to more readily see themselves reflected in the team. This diversity can also be immensely helpful when it comes to vetting speakers for your meetup or WordCamp. For example, perhaps you don’t have very much experience when it comes to accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) standards, but a teammate has lots of experience with that. They are sure to know someone who could give that talk well.

In addition, larger teams naturally have a wider network available to them. When it comes to reaching out to your community, whether it be for sponsors, speakers, or more volunteers, it will be that much easier to do so with a vast network! 

Resilient teams thrive on transparency and delegation

If you are put into a team or committee lead position but never had any experience in leading a team of people, keep three things in mind: be transparent, delegate often, and trust others. By following these principles, you lead by example and foster a culture of collaboration.

For example, try to document and share all the knowledge so everyone can follow along. Hold conversations in public channels as much as possible. Don’t hoard tasks – remember that you, as a lead, are there to facilitate the collaboration of the team members. Creating psychological safety within a team is key to success, and opening up and trusting each other are essential ingredients towards that.

What do you think? What is your favorite part of working with your WordPress organizing team?