Promoting teamwork can help you improve business operations, productivity and effectiveness simultaneously. Effective teamwork is a sign of openness, trust and respect among colleagues.
In learning how to collaborate with others, we improve our communication skills, expand our understanding and become more conscious of the tasks that our team members are working on. It’s no surprise that teamwork is closely tied to company culture, if not embedded in it.
As a leader, it is important to make teamwork a part of everyday life in the office (or online). In collaborating with your group, you are creating a support network for your employees and showing them that it is important to work collectively to achieve success.
The Importance of Teamwork
Why is teamwork so important? The answer is multi-faceted:
Increases motivation levels
Working with others ignites trust and respect between the group as you all work towards a common goal and support each other in getting there. When you respect your teammates, you want to deliver for them and never let them down. This is where our motivation to perform well is ignited.
Offers differing perspectives and feedback
Collaborating with different people and learning about their points of view allows us all to create new problem solving approaches, therefore using innovation to accomplish our goals. Different opinions and experience levels strengthen accountability and allow your employees to hold each other responsible for their specific tasks. Different perspectives also encourage providing feedback to one another, which is another great way to continue learning from others.
Improves efficiency and productivity
Constantly collaborating with your team gives you the opportunity to gain their insights and feedback on projects and find different ways to complete work more efficiently and productively, thus resulting in process improvements.
Provides learning opportunities
Working with other people gives you an opportunity to expand and further develop your existing knowledge. These learnings could be from successes or short-comings but in either scenario, there is always a lesson to be learned. Teamwork promotes knowledge-sharing throughout the team.
Promotes workplace synergy
Teamwork is all about coming together and working together towards a common goal. Synergy is able to take place when each team member owns their tasks, understanding that they are a part of the puzzle piece in executing the project at hand. Shada Wehbe, reinforces this idea:
“When team members are aware of their own responsibilities and roles, as well as the significance of their output being relied upon by the rest of their team, team members will be driven to share the same vision, values, and goals. The result creates a workplace environment based on fellowship, trust, support, respect, and cooperation.”
10 Tips to achieving effective teamwork in the workplace
1 Set clear goals
For successful teamwork to be possible, clear and defined goals as well as team objectives need to be shared. Setting clear goals will also give meaning to the work that each individual on your team is working on. The more clearly goals are defined, the more precise the output of the team will be.
Imagine getting very generic details from your GPS. Rather than it telling you to turn left in 500 meters, it says “turn left soon.” It is much less likely that you arrive at your destination in an effective and timely manner. Being specific with your team members goes a long way.
Use the Shared Streams feature in Fellow to collaborate on team goals and create a sense of transparency across your company.
2 Create transparency
In creating transparency with your team, you are providing them with all of the information or resources they need and making them readily available to everyone.
Being transparent with you team members means explaining the “why” behind the organization’s and the team’s goals. In not only knowing what you are doing but why you are doing it, you are providing a deeper understanding of the collective goal you are moving towards as well as a better vision of the bigger picture.
Finally, remember to be open and honest with your team about any foreseen obstacles or challenges that may arise so that you can equip them as best as possible.
3 Recognize people’s accomplishments
This one seems a little obvious but it’s certainly worth the mention. Showing recognition for effective teamwork is only going to bring your group closer together. Even better, this recognition is going to further motivate them.
As a Manager, you have the ability to be creative in your approach to giving recognition to your team members and according to their learning styles. In leading by example, you are also opening the gates to receiving recognition from your group, which you can use as feedback on what is working well in your management approach.
4 Track your team’s work and progress in a visual way
As humans, we interpret visual information much more quickly than verbal information. That’s probably why traffic lights are colors, not words.
Mapping your tasks and action items with a powerful organization toolkit like Fellow will become a visual reminder of your progress and will motivate your team to continue hitting milestones towards the ultimate and collective goal.
Visually, you and your team will be able to contribute their own agenda items, set priorities and track feedback and goals. There is nothing more satisfying than checking things off of the to- do list!
5 Communicate in one place
Between email, Skype, Zoom, instant chats… There are hundreds of ways to communicate in the workplace. That being said, it is extremely challenging to keep on top of your responsibilities if information is distributed all over the place.
Try to organize your communication channels and set clear expectations regarding which channels should be used for what reasons.
For instance, you can use a chat app such as Slack for quick conversations, and a meeting agenda tool like Fellow to write down talking points and record decisions from your in-person (and online) conversations.
Setting expectations about the tools your team should use will keep you organized while eliminating any confusion or missed conversations.
6 Give the power to make decisions
Giving your team the power to make decisions is a great motivation for teamwork. As a manager, you often rely on the expertise of your team for your own decision-making. So why not shift and share the power with your team? This gives them the autonomy and confidence to make decisions that allow the team to move closer towards the overall goal.
7 Promote efficient team meetings
What does it mean to promote efficient team meetings? It means empowering every team member to speak up with their honest opinions and insight on the project at hand while promoting inclusion and diversity of thought.
Some great ways to promote efficient team meetings are to collaborate on the perfect meeting agenda and end the meeting with clear action items.
If you’re running remote team meetings, some best practices to promote team work include organizing a meeting icebreaker at the beginning of your videocall and assigning different roles, such as timekeeper and notetaker.
8 Create a strong sense of commitment
In order to create a strong sense of group commitment in your team, you need to spend some time together to build a relationship. It is much easier to gain a strong sense of group commitment when individual accountabilities and responsibilities are clearly defined for each member of the group. When your team understands the scope of their colleagues’ work, they are able to support each other and hold one another accountable. This is going to create an overall deeper commitment to the group’s decisions and actions.
9 Encourage respectful communication
In order to foster an environment of respectful communication for successful teamwork, people need to feel comfortable to express their thoughts, opinions and insights with the rest of the group. That’s why one of your responsibilities as a leader is to promote active listening and respectful communication amongst team members.
You will know that your team has strong communications established when each individual feels as if they are given the attention to be heard, as they listen to try to understand. In trying to understand, your team members are likely going to ask questions and really think about what their colleague is saying to better understand it and learn from it.
10 Foster creativity and innovation in problem-solving
There are many ways to approach problem-solving and it is usually based on our own personalities and perceptions. For that reason, it is important to give the floor to your team in order to listen to different approaches to problem-solving. In listening to other perspectives, you are likely going to learn from the individuals in your group and adopt practices that promote effective team work.
It’s also important to give your direct reports the chance to solve challenges on their own (by coaching them and asking open-ended questions), instead of trying to give them all the answers and information they need.
The Benefits of Teamwork in the Workplace
Without fostering an environment that enables successful teamwork, you are going to miss out on the optimal development and implementation for new and inventive ideas. Meeting goals and objectives will be much more difficult if team members do not feel as if others in the group are supporting one another in attaining team goals. Without this support from you and other teammates, the efficiency and effectiveness of meeting organizational goals is hugely hindered.
To motivate and inspire one another, we need to come together.