How to Build Teamwork in the Workplace

The importance of teamwork in the workplace

How to build teamwork in the workplace successfully depends on the sacrifice every individual is willing to make for the benefit of the team.  Building teamwork requires top commitment, self-discipline, and total focus from the leader and all members of the team.  

What is TeamWork?

The basic meaning of teamwork in the workplace is to work together by sharing accountability, commitment, goals, ideas, responsibility, and risk.  Good teamwork demands unfettered cooperation and a unified common objective.  

If team members are not sharing a common purpose and don’t work together, then they’re just working as a group of individuals rather than a solid team. 

Teamwork is not something that can be forced on the people.  It’s a better workplace culture that makes people willfully commit to the purpose of working together. 

When individual members own the purpose of the team, they become accountable to each other. 

The most striking thing about teamwork is that it makes team members be curious, not passive, and be receptive to new ideas from others.

1. How to Build Teamwork in the Workplace?

Before you create teamwork,  you need to build a team, not just employees. The team leader plays a critical role in building a team and ensures that it works.  

It’s not easy to build teamwork in the workplace within a day, week, or month.  But it can be done gradually if the leader gets the basics right. 

The building process starts by laying a strong foundation that can support the team succeed, or to withstand the volatile work environment.

The combination of clear goals and objectives, clearly defined team roles, direct communication, well-defined procedures, and ground rules form a solid foundation for an effective team.  

In other words, the foundation also serves as the building block for transparency, accountability, and trust.  As a leader, you must open-up first to all members and then encourage everyone to do the same. 

Keeping things confidential from team members just means isolating them.

The team needs continuous communication to do the job.  So, information must be freely available to all team members at any time, not on a need basis.  

The leader should also listen actively to team members’ concerns, suggestions, and ideas.  This will lead to many benefits including:

  • The team will have a high success rate.
  • The team will create a supportive atmosphere where people are happy to work together.
  • The team will work hard and not only achieve challenging objectives but also enjoy themselves as they go along.

2. The team structure

  • The make-up of the team is important to build successful teamwork.  How you build the team influences the purpose of teamwork.  There are several factors that need to be considered such as; the type of job, purpose, and skills required.
  • The nature of a job influences the type of team the leader builds.  She has to visualize and decide how the team can work together for example in the office, factory, store, or in any other environment.   
  • The definition of teamwork dictates that all team members must share accountability, commitment, ideas, and responsibility.  So, when building teamwork in the workplace, it’s important to evaluate early whether all members will wilfully commit themselves to the purpose of the team.
  • Teamwork needs the team to have a variety of skills, strength, knowledge, and abilities.  Individuals in the team can have different but complementary skills, attitude, mindset, and thinking.

3. Team stability

The leader works closely with all team members – and knows what is available and missing, or what each team member can and can’t do.  Remember, it’s important to keep balancing and strengthening the team to keep the momentum going.

But, if the leader keeps changing team members because of bad decisions and choices, it’s going to disrupt the way the team works. 

So, before bringing in new people, the leader has to consider the stability of the team, by asking the simple questions below:

  • What will the person bring or add to the team? 
  • Will the person stay longer with the team?
  • Will, there be new changes to the current ways of doing the job, that may require new skills the team doesn’t have at the moment?

Team members want stability, and to be loyal to each other.  So, it’s important to ensure whoever added to the team is not damaging the teamwork spirit and morale. 

Remember, building a great team requires a blend of individuals (like the one below) who can push or pull each other in the right direction;  

  • The Results-driven Workhorse

Motivation doesn’t last, so to keep team spirit high all the time, the team needs someone who is energetic, competitive, and can mobilize but also motivate others. 

This person is the workhorse of the team, and ever ready to do whatever it takes to get the results the team is craving for.  He becomes impatient with endless discussions or meetings and always want to get the job moving

She arrives first to work and he is the one who always stays behind to get the job done, even if fellow team members have left the workplace

  • The Optimist

The team needs somebody who’s forward-thinking, very inquisitive, challenges business as usual attitude, but also eager and receptive to new ideas. In the team that works, positive thinking, and happiness flow from the Optimist.

The person constantly tries to maintain a strong team spirit and relationships within the team. 

He or she is very accessible and always encourages everyone to help one another in whatever they do.

  • The Pessimist

The team needs a nitpicking pessimist person who can point out the flaws in the action plan, schedule 

  • The Organized  

Not all team members are going to be super organized.  There are plenty of teams that have brilliant individuals but are prone to mistakes.  It’s worth pointing out, however, that not all mistakes are avoidable. 

It’s more sensible, therefore, to have at the very least someone in the team who is meticulous, organized, and always paying attention to details – a person who always crosschecks everything for errors to prevent mistakes from happening.

  • The Invisible 

There’s always an individual inside or outside the team with tacit skills.  This is one individual with skills that are difficult to identify or explain, but often contribute a lot to the team. 

The person is very practical, level headed, prudent, flexible, and adaptable – and knows how to interact and transfer skills between team members. 

Having this type of person on board not only binds the team members together but also ensures that the team has the requisite skills and flexibility, to avoid becoming over-reliant on any individual.

4. Team collaboration

Team collaboration doesn’t only refer to how team members work together, but also the way they cooperate with other different teams to exchange ideas, urge constructively, agree on solutions and actions, for a shared interest.

A typical example is from the manufacturing workplace; the planning team designs the production plan and forward it to other teams to execute.  

There are several teams specifically procurement, production, engineering, and logistics that share an interest in the plan. 

What is teamwork in a workplace

It’s therefore essential that all teams collaborate during and after the planning stages to avoid execution challenges. 

Without good and effective collaboration, the chances of not executing that plan as required become greater, and therefore, it increases the risk of upsetting the customers.

5. Importance of working in a team

To build teamwork in the workplace successfully, you should also place fostering a culture of openness and relationship building at the center of your leadership strategy. 

Another interesting article: Why Team Building Activities are Waste of Time

Having an open environment in the workplace allows people with different knowledge and skills to collaborate without having any difficulty.  Each person is free to bring up their own ideas. 

Then each idea is considered collectively with every individual member, using own specialist knowledge to support, add, or challenge. 

6. Benefits of the Teamwork

The benefits of working within a team come from open communication, clear ideas, and shared accountability.  

When there are no barriers to information flow and ideas, or obstacles to shared responsibility, it gives the team more clarity of what to do – and this increases the chances of getting the job done.  

Above all, it brings enthusiasm, motivation, and encourages more creative thinking – all of which are key ingredients for boosting teamwork spirit.

In workplaces where there are barriers to everything, people have to deal with issues such as chronic politics, poor leadership, endless bickering, and blame-games, every day.   It’s very difficult to see how a team can work in such a toxic environment. 

7. Teamwork success

The performance of the team hinges on the success of teamwork culture and the way members approach their work.  

Every task is considered as a project they can’t afford to deliver on time – with the team leader acting as the project sponsor, ensuring that all resources and assistance the team needs are available at their disposal.

Teamwork also requires team members to be assertive, confident but remains rational and reasonable.  What teamwork doesn’t need, are individual members who try to be in charge, to take advantage of reasonable people.

Also check this article: Managing From Behind The Desk Can Be Very Risky

How do you build teamwork in the workplace? Please leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

2 Comments

  1. I agree that if you want teamwork, you should have not only employees but a team. In my opinion, it is important to have activities together. I think that anyone looking to creat teamwork should make sure their employees become friends with each other.

    1. Thanks for your comment. You’ve made a good point, but I can add that when there’s a positive culture in the workplace, individuals trust and look out for one another, and that is important for a team that works.

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