What Is the Definition of Teamwork in the Workplace?
“Teamwork is when a group of people willingly come together and combine their experience and talent to achieve a collective objective or goal.”
—The Team Approach by Steven J. Stowell, PhD & Stephanie S. Mead
Why Do We Need Teamwork?
Most organizations operate in a dynamic, complex, and unpredictable business environment. Stakeholders and customers have higher expectations. Businesses feel pressure from competitive forces to constantly reinvent services and products. Regulations call for better, safer, and cleaner operations. In short, there are many uncertainties as well as opportunities to capitalize on that will ensure long-term sustained success.
The truth is good leadership, deep financial pockets, or a history of success is no guarantee of future success. When it comes right down to it, success depends on people working together, collaborating and sharing in order to produce products and services in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Teams, if well managed, can differentiate your business and create value. People engaging in effective teamwork are your competitive advantage. The question for all leaders is how does your team stack up? How good are they at playing the teamwork game? Organizations who figure it out have a much higher probability of thriving in a world full of challenges and opportunities and making a positive contribution to society.
What Are the Three Most Important Things Needed to Drive an Effective Team Environment in the Workplace?
- You need to have a clear purpose, direction, and strategy for your team as well as clearly defined roles for team members.
- There needs be a sense of community and positive emotional connections between team members.
- Finally, teams need to have understandable and transparent working agreements, ground rules, or a code of conduct to guide the behaviors of team members.
What Are Teamwork Skills?
There are numerous teamwork skills people need to have to effectively contribute to a team. The top 10 skills include the following:
- The ability to influence others with logic and reasoning.
- The ability to listen and fully understand what others are saying.
- The ability to resolve differences in a constructive way that leads to unique and effective solutions.
- The ability to control the urge to talk too much for those who are socially outgoing or the ability to speak up and weigh in on issues for those who are reserved and cautious about speaking their minds.
- The ability to be inclusive, help facilitate dialogue, and engage others during important conversations when ideas and commitments to new initiatives are needed.
- The ability to navigate difficult decisions and build consensus.
- The ability to plan and organize work that requires people to be coordinated and synchronized.
- The ability to emphasize, care for, and support the needs of others to the extent possible.
- The ability to appropriately acknowledge and recognize the accomplishments of team members.
- The ability to accept responsibility, be accountable, and take ownership of mistakes or errors.
What Is a Good Team Leader?
A good team leader is someone who
- Seeks input and guidance from team members about decisions and plans
- Delegates responsibility and authority for tasks
- Provides and accepts coaching and feedback
- Shares information about the organization’s progress and problems
- Helps the team establish behavioral expectations and standards
- Is approachable, accessible, and listens to others
- Maintains and expects accountability
- Can effectively facilitate and lead productive meetings and discussions
- Is a source of energy and optimism
- Controls emotions and maintains composure under pressure or when faced with unwelcome surprises or disappointments
What Are the Benefits of Good Teamwork?
If you subscribe to the principle of synergy or the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, you know that collaboration and unity within a group of people can produce better results than when people work in silos.
Some examples of the benefits of good teamwork include
- Projects completed successfully on time and under budget.
- Better experiences for internal and external customers.
- Elevated levels of creativity and innovation when people can cross-pollinate ideas.
- Higher levels of engagement and loyalty.
- Reduced stress, pressure, and tension.
- Greater work-life balance.
- Less time consumed by distracting and costly infighting and conflicts.
- Better execution of new priorities and strategies.
- Less resistance to important changes required for sustained success.
- The ability to attract and retain the best possible talent.
What Are the Qualities of Good Teamwork?
- A team with clear direction for the long term.
- A team with a plan to deliver results today.
- A team that is creative and innovative.
- A team with a clear mission and purpose.
- A team that encourages individual and collective learning.
- A team that creates a wholesome environment where people feel they belong, are needed, and part of something bigger than themselves.
- A place where people can make a difference and do their best work.
- A place that encourages and cultivates positive relationships between team members.
- A team that celebrates progress and success.
- A team that has open and constructive discussions and resolves issues or problems that will occur when people get together to accomplish a task.
What Are the 5 Roles of an Effective Team?
- Establish clear roles and responsibilities for its members.
- Define S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives to aim for.
- Create a short-range operational plan and a longer-range strategic plan.
- Create an environment or culture that is inclusive and that motivates and enables members to do their best work.
- Deliver results, produce desired outcomes, and create value for key stakeholders.
What Are Some Examples of Teamwork?
- A member of the team is struggling with a complex project and a colleague volunteers to assist knowing full well that this will require additional work for them.
- One team member takes time to share a special skill that would be useful for other team members.
- The team leader organizes a special lunch for the team to celebrate the successful launch of a new product.
- The team decides to have an offsite retreat to discuss big challenges and opportunities it will encounter in the new year.
- A reserved and quiet member of the team decides it is safe to speak up in a team meeting and share his/her helpful reservations and insights before the team implements a plan of action.
- The team has a weekly all-hands meeting to coordinate activities and maintain accountability for each member’s assignments and tasks.
How Do You Motivate Your Team?
To the extent possible, you need to provide your team with work that is interesting and challenging and delegate the authority to team members so that they can accomplish expectations. In addition, most people want to belong to a group. If you can create a sense of identity or connection between people and provide a clear mission, you will motivate your team and produce better results.
On a regular basis, share information and data about team progress on important goals and projects. Most people thrive when they have knowledge about results. Your team is like a community where people trust and respect each other, feel it is safe to learn and share their concerns. Team members need to know that others will be there to lend support in times of adversity.
Finally, teams are motivated when you encourage members to find their voice, speak up and share information, ideas, and opinions in a secure and safe place that rewards people for their candor.
Team Environment Examples
Effective workplace coaches need the ability to create a team environment, but that goal is difficult to achieve if you aren’t sure what a team environment looks like.
The strongest workplace teams function in an environment that encourages these traits:
- Emotional connections between team members
- Transparency and openness
- Team unity and cohesiveness
- Collective buy-in on team agreements and ground rules
- Resilience and optimism
- Team engagement and passion
- Team community and support
- Teams as a learning environment
- Calm resolution of team tension and animosity