All sorts of tasks become easier — and faster — through teamwork. More than speed or ease, though, big or complex projects require teamwork. It isn't a choice.
Working together enables us to tackle big projects and audacious goals that just wouldn't be possible alone. Effective teamwork empowers us to reach our goals and have far more impact.
Teamwork stretches far beyond making the best snow fort or carrying the heaviest objects. But not everyone sees the value and benefits that a group of people working together can accomplish.
But what is teamwork, and how you can encourage a collaborative atmosphere in the workplace?
What is teamwork?
Teamwork happens when people work together toward a common goal. That goal could be professional or personal. You can work as a team to move a couch up a flight of stairs, launch a work project, or play soccer.
Defining teamwork is simple, but understanding how to work well as a team can be complicated. Becoming an effective high-performing team takes practice. And guidance.
What teamwork means to you might be different for your teammates. What teamwork looks like also depends a lot on the nature of your work and what types of challenges you face. Not every type of work needs or benefits from teamwork.
One key to a successful team: When individuals realize that working together on a project is more effective than working alone. Teams are effective when they aren't just dividing up tasks and working independently to get them done faster. Great teamwork is about working together and collaborating to come up with better approaches.
You know that you have the right teamwork for the job when your team delivers better outcomes than any one person could on their own. Achieving a goal is often easier when tasks are done cooperatively rather than relying on each individual’s singular efforts.
An entire team operates best when each team member works collaboratively but still brings their own perspective and experiences and uses their own set of skills.
Let’s say a team goal is developing a great new poster that advertises the company’s product. One group of people could be responsible for the graphics, while others could write the slogan. A third person might determine where to display the poster. The goal is shared, but the tasks are individual.
4 benefits of teamwork
It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting in your new work environment or if you are the team leader or manager. Everyone gains when effective teams are in place.
Here are four different benefits that effective teamwork can bring to your work environment:
1. A source of motivation and inspiration
As team members start to work together, they’ll see how it boosts productivity. Teams may meet milestones with greater ease than individuals. Seeing success can motivate others to stick with their goals, even if they encounter challenges.
2. More productive conflict management
With effective teamwork comes more open communication. It's not about smooth conflict resolution so much as working with friction in respectful, productive ways.
To complete shared goals, team members have to bring together diverse viewpoints and build on them. They have to challenge each other's assumptions. Sometimes they have to compromise. Problem-solving is ongoing. Teams develop strong conflict management skills to avoid lingering issues and tension.
3. More meaningful team development
Working as a team allows people to get to know each other’s skills, personalities, and areas of expertise. Developing these connections leads to a stronger, more developed team. Professional relationships may flourish, and people may discover opportunities for mentoring.
4. Bigger goals
Effective teamwork proves that a team can do great things, and with that comes an expansion of their goals. A successful team won’t stay stagnant for long. Managers will be motivated to set new team goals. And, employees of all levels will want to challenge themselves and expand their own skill sets.
Find someone to help you stay accountable for setting your goals. BetterUp can provide the accountability you need to plan, organize, and execute your goals.