Mairéad Cahalan is the outgoing Editor of eumom.ie, and in her final blog post for Zahra Media Group, she digresses from her usual topics of all things digital content to talk us through the importance of teamwork, building strong work relationships and how to work well with your colleagues.
I’ve been part of the eumom.ie team for almost five years and as I prepare to bow out to move on to the next exciting chapter of my life, I thought I would take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships, as a final nod to my fantastic team, colleagues and friends.
Here are a few of my learnings, thoughts and observations:
Learn From Each Other
I’ve been in the fortunate position of working with some absolutely wonderful people over the last five years. eumom.ie as a company has changed, grown and developed vastly over the last few years, and with that, the team has also changed, grown and developed. I’m lucky to have worked with a wide variety of people with all sorts of areas of expertise, and I have learned from every single one of them.
When you join a company, you bring a unique skill set and educational background – as does everyone else that joins. Your professional makeup is unique to you and different from everyone else, and that is a huge opportunity for learning! Never box yourself off by skill set. Never think that because you work in one area of the business that you couldn’t possibly learn from people on the opposite side.
Even though my role has been strictly editorial, I have learnt so much from our sales team about the importance of building and maintain relationships with external parties. Simple things like how to construct a follow up email without sounding bothersome. There is an art to that! I’ve attended client meetings and events with our sales team where I learned how to work a room, how to be personable, while being professional and keeping your eye on the prize, so to speak.
I’ve learned an immeasurable amount from my seniors, managers and mentors. You will never have as much experience as those who have been in the business longer than you have. I’ve learnt about managing others, dealing with tricky situations, how to professionally and respectfully approach those career progression conversations, and so much more. Senior members of your team, or your boss for that matter, are not the enemy or to be feared. They are there to support, guide and help! Never be afraid to approach them for advice.
Your own experience may be current, relevant to your role and completely different from those who are managing or mentoring you. And there lies a huge opportunity for you to impart your technical or fresh experience on them. Learning works both ways. So share, learn and work together to build a better team and a better business.
Teamwork Gets You Places
eumom’s culture has always been a shared working environment. A collaborative affair! Working well together as a team will get the job done quicker and more efficiently. And there’s no better example of this than when eumom launched a new website and carried out a massive content migration in 2017. It was a huge team effort. We took the divide and conquer approach, and it was all hands on deck.
The result? A fantastic new website with amazing analytical results. But more importantly in the context of this blog post – a shared sense of achievement, a shared celebration, and a shared feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. I have to say, it was one of the toughest times in my eumom career, due to the sheer volume of work to be done, but also the most satisfying and enjoyable. And it is still reflected on now, as the team approached new projects, and new challenges. A shared feeling of, “well, if we survived the content migration, we can tackle this project.”
Working as a team means that you are part of a collective body whereby everyone is working towards a common objective or goal. This also means that you need patience and understanding to learn and adapt to different working habits, points of view and personalities of your team members.
Go The Extra Mile
It may be something small like making a cup of tea for a colleague, answering a phone call, or offering to take on one of their tasks when they are under pressure. In a workplace environment, doing something special for your colleagues or peers may not require a lot of effort, but these simple actions will help your colleagues see you positively and appreciate who you are.
Treat Your Colleagues With Respect
A culture of respect and dignity in the workplace ensures a healthy working environment. Help to build a sense of community spirit at work through group lunches, walks, learning events, or after work drinks. Treat your colleagues as you would like them to treat you. Support them in times of need, without overstepping the mark. A simple, “How are you doing today? Is there anything I can help with?” will go a long way.
As humans, we are naturally social creatures – we crave friendship and positive interactions. So it makes sense that the better your relationships are at work, the happier and more productive you’re going to be. When you have good work chums, your work is more enjoyable. You are also more likely to agree on approaches to workload, be more innovative and creative. As my grandmother used to say, it’s nice to be nice and it doesn’t cost you anything!
Lastly, always be gracious and say thank you. It’s a simple, basic two-word phrase that is often underestimated. A simple, “thanks for that, great work” can have a positive lasting effect on your teammate. You never know when someone might be having a bad day. And those few short words might just give them the encouragement they need to reassure them that they are doing a great job.
And with that, I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to everyone I have worked with over the past five years at eumom and Zahra Media Group. To all the contributors and expert who I have collaborated with, to all the clients I have had the pleasure of working with, to all the readers who have commented, shared and loved our content, and, of course, to my wonderful colleagues. Thank you! As excited as I am for what’s to come in my professional life, I am so sad to be leaving behind such a brilliant team. Thanks for the learnings, the fun, and the laughter! It’s been a pleasure.