Up till now, we had seven client-weeks and all went successful. Overall, we are a self-functioning team that shares the same goal, that is, to present something insightful and truthful to our clients. This makes it easy to manage a team of 8, however, it is not without challenges. In this blog, I will discuss some observations of mine.

1, A journey to discover oneself

Before we figure out how to best work with others, I believe we need to first figure out ourselves. It is especially interesting to see how many different types of personalities we have in the team. I am also very appreciative of the diversity in the team, which allows me to learn how to interact with different people. 

Understanding my communication style allows me to find out my strengths and weakness so that I know what to avoid and what to continue doing when interactive with my teammates.

2, Collaborative VS efficiency

During the projects, there are a few times where we ended up having more than one person working with one task. It is quite common to have a collaborative brainstorm session, however with a project as short as ours, it is time costly to have two team members working on the same Tableau dashboard or Alteryx workflow. In my opinion, collaborative tasks might easily result in low efficiency, if not managed with caution. 

Here are some of my ideas for collaborative tasks to work well.

  • Divide tasks into more specific components, for example, one team member can work on understanding the dataset and the other person can research on understanding the task goals (subject matter).
  • Strick time-box and frequent stand-up to make sure information is being shared 
  • If team members are being assigned to the same tasks (e.g. working on Bureau of Meteorology dataset using Tableau to compare Sydney and Melbourne’s weather), make sure in the end team member cross-check each other’s work
  • Have both apart and together times, the most efficient collaboration happens where we not only had time to sit down together and review dashboard and brainstorms but also able to think and work independently before gathering.

3, Embrace imperfections

As much as everyone would like to present a perfect dashboard, it is quite often not realistic in real life, there is always more we can do. What is important is to move on from those unsolvable to solvable to maximize the benefit the project delivers to the clients in the end. I guess this rule simply applies to lots of aspects in all kinds of professions.

4, Respect team members and the team lead

This is something lots of us should work on in a team, and we all agreed we will start doing so by giving the speaker full attention in a standup meeting. David told us once, the best way to make sure the final presentation cohesive and collaborative is to listen to what every other team member is up to. 

5, Compassion and sympathy make a great team-lead

During four months of’ training, I observed that great leadership always started from compassion and sympathy from the team-lead. Being able to connect with the team-members influences the team lead’s approach, decisions and speech tone. Feeling some level of care from others is crucial for a team member to work in the best interest of the whole team and feel appreciated.

Compassion and sympathy do come naturally for a lot of us and are not something that can be easily trained in a profession. However, it is not impossible to train. 

In the medical world, compassion and sympathy training have been going on for a while and there is a difference between the two. Empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. While exercising compassion in leadership is the best thing for the team, the leader might end up experiencing compassion fatigue. 

Conclusion

The four months of training we had is not only about the amazing tools for data analysis, but also about the soft-skills for being a better consultant, team member, and team lead.