The ability to work well with others is fundamental in most professions. However, in the context of law enforcement, security, and military endeavors, teamwork can be a matter of life and death. Bryan Paarmann, a veteran, and retired FBI agent devoted over 30 years of his life to public service in the armed services and law enforcement sectors. As the head of the original and largest Joint Terrorism Task Force in the U.S., he worked hard to instill cross-organizational unity. Here, he shares what he learned and offers three tips for effective team-building that can be applied in any environment.
3 Tips for Effective Teamwork
- Identify Goals
To make headway in any endeavor, whether it’s mitigating a crisis situation or boosting business sales, you need to identify your goals. Set time-oriented, attainable goals for your team and ensure everyone understands what they are and why they matter. Furthermore, ensure everyone on the team understands their role, the project vision, and the desired outcome.
- Lead and Be Involved
Leaders are like coaches, Bryan Paarmann says. It’s important for a leader to adopt a ‘servant’ mentality and strive to make the team better as a whole. In a team environment, while individual and group/unit contributions matter, true excellence is only attained when everyone is combining talents and efforts toward a common goal. Leaders should foster a collaborative, supportive environment in which staff feel respected and heard. Keep an open mind and be receptive to hearing people’s ideas. You never know what innovative solution someone might come up with. Also, if roadblocks come up, it’s important for team members to feel comfortable speaking up so you can work together to overcome them, rather than sweeping problems under the rug.
- Be Transparent and Forthcoming and Constantly Communicating
Honesty is the best policy when working with a team. Your staff needs to know what’s happening so they can adjust their game plans respectively to meet changing demands. People will also feel more respected, and thus more motivated if they know their leader is being transparent and honest. On a similar note, be forthcoming with your feedback and be receptive to feedback, including constructive criticism, yourself.
More on Bryan Paarmann FBI
Bryan Paarmann graduated from the United States Military Academy and served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army. During his tenure, he completed peacetime and combat assignments around the globe. In 1996, he joined the FBI, following in his father’s footsteps. His father had served in the FBI from 1953 to 1980 after serving in the military in World War II. While Bryan Paarmann worked his way through the ranks, his assignments grew in scope and responsibility within the FBI’s Criminal and National Security mandates.
One of the greatest honors of Bryan Paarmann’s career was his appointment to lead the NY Joint Terrorism Task Force, the largest, oldest, and one of the most active JTTF’s of the 102 nationwide. He became the FBI Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office Counterrorism Division and the NY JTTF in 2017.
Although Bryan Paarmann honorably retired in 2019, he continues to provide informational and educational presentations to various groups, including law enforcement, military, civic organizations, trade groups, non-governmental organizations, universities, and colleges on the changing dynamic of terrorism threats and what can be done to prevent and mitigate the ever-changing threat.