POWERING WORKPLACE PERFORMANCE

13 DECEMBER, 2016

10 KEY ELEMENTS OF EFFECTIVE TEAMWORK

What is teamwork in the workplace?

Teamwork in the workplace refers to a group of employees working together to complete a specific task or reach a common goal. Practical elements of teamwork may involve brainstorming sessions, maintaining open communication channels, holding regular meetings and engaging in countless other collaborative activities.

How to achieve effective teamwork in the workplace

Teamwork has always been an essential capability for successful enterprises. But with today’s organisations undergoing disruption and digitisation in an ‘innovate or die’ economy, it is now more important than ever that employees can collaborate effectively across geographical sites, between business functions and within increasingly fluid job hierarchies.

What is teamwork in the workplace?

Teamwork in the workplace refers to a group of employees working together to complete a specific task or reach a common goal. Practical elements of teamwork may involve brainstorming sessions, maintaining open communication channels, holding regular meetings and engaging in countless other collaborative activities.

Why is effective teamwork important?

“None of us is smarter than all of us” – Ken Blanchard

Good teamwork is closely related to engagement, productivity, creativity and satisfaction. A 2014 Stanford study found that working in teams increases motivation and has numerous other social and personal benefits. People in teams are more likely to persist with difficult tasks, and enjoy themselves while doing it.

Outside of improving productivity and motivation, effective teamwork also:

  • Reduces stress
  • Encourages learning and knowledge sharing
  • Facilitates creativity
  • Motivates healthy risk taking
  • Builds problem solving skills
  • Allows individuals to focus on their strengths
  • Improves job satisfaction
  • Ensures team members feel valued for their contribution

Open communication and mutual support are two key characteristics of good teamwork that contribute to increased job satisfaction. In other words, inclusivity and the active encouragement of idea sharing among employees can directly improve retention rates.

10 Key Elements of Teamwork

Effective teamwork won’t manifest itself without dedicated guidance and the right project management skills.

To achieve a team-centred workplace culture, leadership must make a concerted effort to build a transparent and supportive environment that encourages teamwork at all levels. By becoming familiar with the different attributes that constitute strong team management, leaders can take an assertive approach when establishing effective teamwork in their organisation.

Here are 10 practical ways on how to achieve teamwork in the workplace:

1. Communicate openly and transparently

Effective communication is the most important part of teamwork. It involves consistently updating each person and never assuming that everyone has the same information.

But good teamwork also requires sound listening skills. By listening to your colleagues you show them respect, which is an essential trust-building method. Offering encouragement also goes a long way when it comes to inspiring the best out of team members.

2. Establish a clear organisational purpose

It’s impossible to meaningfully contribute to a greater task when you don’t know what that task is.

Similarly to communication, there must be transparency regarding corporate purpose. Greater awareness of your company’s core purpose will empower employees to instil this purpose into their work.  This will in turn allow employees to harness greater independence when completing personal responsibilities while also taking a proactive approach to fulfilling their team’s core purpose.

3. Set concrete team goals

Short-term and long-term goals are a prerequisite for inspiring good teamwork. Goals represent direction and allow team members to exercise a level of flexibility and creativity when determining the smartest way to reach their desired outcome.

Continuous reference to concrete team goals also ensures that everyone knows why the team exists and that all work within the team must ultimately contribute to the fulfilment of those goals.

4. Promote ownership and accountability

Ownership is key when ensuring that each team member feels as if they belong within the greater team. Without accountability, employees can feel lost in the crowd and undervalued in their role.

Blame culture is detrimental to effective teamwork. Role clarification and open communication can help employees not only understand their responsibilities, but also how their role fits into the broader picture. This is valuable when it comes to promoting ownership and ensuring that accountability is continuously upheld through constructive self-management skills.

5. Delegate tasks based on strengths

Teams that work well together understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. One of the benefits of good teamwork is that team leaders and members are adept at identifying all aspects of a project and allocating tasks to the most appropriate team members. This boosts productivity and ensures that team members are valued in how they contribute to the broader project.

6. Promote efficiency and avoid micromanagement

A strong and cohesive team develops systems that allow them to collaborate efficiently to complete tasks in a timely manner. Through working together, colleagues will be aware of their own capabilities and the capabilities of the group in general, and can organise the workload accordingly.

7. Support employees in building team cohesion

All workplaces provide challenges, but having a strong team environment in place can act as a support mechanism for staff members. They can help each other improve their own performance as well as working together toward improving their professional development. Building bonds on trust and reliance on each other can be extremely important when facing a particularly difficult challenge or if the group is forced to deal with the loss of a team member while continuing to maintain productivity.

8. Create a culture of ideas and innovation

When a team works well together, colleagues feel more comfortable offering suggestions and ideas. A respectful and trusting team environment will not only enable colleagues to think more creatively, but will lead to more productive and collaborative brainstorming sessions.

9. Reward teams for taking risks

Safe risks can be extremely valuable to overall team success and enhancing employee innovation. To create an environment that encourages healthy risk taking, it’s important to first clarify what smart risks are and ensure that employees understand they will not be judged or punished for taking risks – even if they don’t turn out how they expected them to.

In addition to leading by example, praising team members for taking healthy risks will also contribute to a more innovative workplace culture that drives effective teamwork.

10. Make trust an essential value

In order to create an innovative and creative workplace, trust must be continuously prioritised within teams. Encouraging honesty and open communication is critical when engaging with team members and strengthening collaborative skills.

Trust can be further developed through:

  • Providing opportunities for relationships amongst team members to develop naturally
  • Sharing success stories and openly congratulating team members for their achievements
  • Creating an accountability flowchart and clearly defining roles
  • Encouraging autonomy
  • Avoiding micromanagement
Great teamwork starts with training

Good teamwork means a synergistic way of working with each person committed and working towards a shared goal. Teamwork maximises the individual strengths of team members to bring out their best. It is therefore a necessity that leaders facilitate and build the teamwork skills of their people if they are to steer a company toward success.

At DeakinCo. we can help you build teamwork and collaboration with our short courses for managers and leaders. Find out more about our range of practical, tailored learning solutions.

Talk to us today