Teamwork: An Essential Element of Service
I have learned several things throughout my time as an AmeriCorps member, but perhaps the most important skill that I have learned is teamwork. I have been on teams most of my life through sports, after school activities, projects, etc.. I thought that I was familiar with the concept of teamwork and its importance to getting things done. When I arrived at my site I was “reintroduced” to the concept of teamwork, only on a much larger scale. I am currently serving at a fairly large organization. When I began my service, I was unsure about where I fit in exactly and what benefit I would be bringing to my site. For about two weeks I just observed what was happening around me, who the major players were, and whom I would be working with directly. After about a month I finally felt like I had a handle on what the “operating processes” were of my organization.
As a VISTA I had a unique role in the organization, and my service relied heavily on teamwork and utilizing those around me to accomplish tasks. With so many moving parts, it was difficult to find out who was in charge of what, who could sign off on projects, and to whom I should report. I had several conversations with my site supervisor about this and he was great at working to get me plugged in and feeling like I was part of the team. Once I started focusing on the concept of teamwork, my service became a lot easier and more effective.
Teamwork is vital in my organization and a key part of what I am doing. I also believe it has helped me not only within my organization, but also in the community while implementing neighboring. As I began to work with the people in my community, we started to see positive relationships form and real change begin to happen. Once I got rid of the “for you” mentality and started applying the “with you” mindset, my service really began to take off. My organization was pleased with the work I was doing, thus making teamwork in the office much more accessible and effective. Throughout the rest of my service I hope to continue to utilize teamwork both in the community and in the office to see positive change.