“Teamwork makes the dream work”. It’s an important saying but the advice is definitely incomplete.
When it comes to maintaining or as it maybe having teamwork, defining what growing or improving team work looks like is the first step. Improving teamwork is less about doing, but more so literally is about establishing the outcome you’re trying to improve. One cannot simply “improve teamwork” for the sake of improvement alone. Instead, you and your team are attempting to accomplish something that has yet to be done — and defining that clearly and often is paramount.
Are you trying to achieve your sales goals, drive greater employee performance or create technology to better serve your customer base?
Once you’ve established the “what,” you can focus on working best as a team to achieve those goals (or on driving spirited competition within your team to achieve the goal *nudges the sales department*). This comes from setting your goal(s), understanding how your team collaborates most efficiently and placing individuals in the roles that best fit them, for the success of that individual and of the team.
- Teamwork is efficient work
A key pillar of the industrial revolution, a foundation of modern civilization, was the division of labour. And that’s just another way to say teamwork.
Employee teamwork enables your workforce to:
Split difficult tasks into simpler ones, then work together to complete them faster
Develop specialised skills, so that the best person for each task can do it better and faster
In a nutshell, teams make work more efficient. That can lead to better productivity, reduced costs, greater profitability, and many other benefits.
Consider this fact about CliftonStrengths: When predicting both engagement and performance, a team’s awareness of their strengths is more important than the specific composition of those strengths. In other words — just knowing your strengths, as well as the strengths of your partners, leads to higher engagement and performance.
- Teammates learn from each other
Imagine you have a workforce of 10 designers all working in separate rooms. Each designer works to their own strengths and suffers from their own weaknesses, with nobody to teach or learn from.
Now put them all in the same room, on the same project. Working together, they’ll soon learn each other’s strengths and correct each other’s mistakes. And everyone’s performance will improve.
- Teams innovate faster
For any task or problem, there are usually countless solutions. When one employee tackles a project, they might be able to think of a few different ideas given time. But when a team tackles a problem, the project benefits from multiple perspectives, skillsets, and experiences all at once.
A team approach can therefore lead to faster, deeper innovation.
- Teams self-monitor
When one person does a task alone, they have total autonomy — but if that person starts to work slowly or ineffectively, who will set them straight? Nobody, that’s who.
In teamwork, many people have responsibility for the same goal. Most significantly, teammates observe and depend on the quality of each other’s work. When one team member’s performance dips, the others have the knowledge and motivation to help them improve. Without management intervention, effective teams can often regulate their own performance.
Individuals who know their strengths work together to form better partnerships, and more thoughtful partnerships create stronger teams. Strong teams start with the individual.
One of the most difficult tasks for an individual is easily explaining what they’re good at. You can say you’re “organized,” but that could mean different things for different people.
- Teamwork promotes strong working relationships
Finally, when employees work together and succeed as a team, they form bonds that can turn into trust and friendship. It’s human nature. And it’s great for your organisation, since employees who like and trust each other are more likely to:
Communicate well with each other
Support and motivate each other
It’s little wonder successful organisations value teamwork so highly.
When team members value each other’s strengths, they more effectively relate to one another, avoid potential conflicts, boost group cohesion and create positive dialogue.
Higher levels of engagement affect business outcomes such as:
lower turnover (high-turnover orgs):