When individuals come together to work collectively toward a common goal, great things can happen. Use these articles, exercises, and strategies to build a team, improve teamwork, and everything in between.
Here are some frequently asked questions about teamwork:
Why is teamwork important?
Teamwork is a vital way to generate new ideas and novel approaches to solving problems. People possess a variety of individual opinions, backgrounds, and strengths. They bring these things to the table when gathered together. This collaboration creates stronger brainstorming sessions as workers become exposed to alternate perspectives and feed off of one another to arrive at creative conclusions. Teamwork also promotes efficiency within the company by divvying up tasks, and it offers a source of support when one team member encounters a problem or emergency situation.
How does teamwork build morale?
Job satisfaction rises when workers feel part of something bigger than themselves. Pursuit of a mutual goal creates a sense of belonging. Using one’s talents toward a common objective increases self-pride, and witnessing the strengths of co-workers leads to added appreciation of their strengths. Relationships grow as employees get to know one another, and productivity flourishes as commitment to “not letting the team down” deepens.
What are some of the challenges to good teamwork?
Getting different personalities and work styles to blend harmoniously can be tricky. For instance, shy people may not be fond of group settings, and independent types may prefer to control projects on their own. They may need extra convincing about the merits of teamwork and require time to get comfortable.
Also, people sometimes focus more on themselves than on the team. They may overlook collective goals in favor of career advancement, personal recognition, or getting their own way. When things go wrong, they can be quick to place the blame on others – leading to team discord.
What role does trust play in teamwork?
Lack of trust underlies several of the issues that prevent effective teamwork. Colleagues can be afraid to give each other honest feedback. Some may hold back ideas for fear of ridicule. Others may be slow to admit mistakes or ask for help because they worry coworkers will judge them as incompetent or weak. Also, team members may be leery of others’ skills or commitment level. Being able to trust that fellow members of the group will do their part and deliver quality results is critical for teamwork to thrive.
How can a manager encourage teamwork?
Build a “safe” environment that welcomes all ideas. Create basic ground rules, such as time limits on holding the floor and zero tolerance for disrespectful behavior. Help quieter team members get involved by soliciting their opinions directly or perhaps asking everyone to write down thoughts anonymously for you to read aloud.
What are some team-building strategies?
Teams gel as members get to know and appreciate one another. Consider allowing some time for cross-training among staff. Everyone gets the chance to act as a student and as a teacher, employees learn more about each other’s jobs, and you gain a better-skilled workforce. Or try group games, which break the ice and allow personalities to shine. People mingle naturally around food, so plan an ice cream social or a potluck lunch. Take a “field trip” together to a museum or the bowling alley, or dedicate a day to completing a community service project the staff chooses together. Start a peer recognition program in which team members can congratulate a coworker on an accomplishment or express gratitude for a kind act. As bonds strengthen and people feel comfortable with one another, teamwork will become more second nature.