‘The combined action of a group, especially when effective and efficient’
Teamwork – we’re taught from an early age that working as a team is a skill to master, superior to going it alone. Alongside our times tables we’re encouraged to work with others, to share our own ideas and accept and acknowledge the ideas of others.
‘There is no ‘I’ in Team’
It’s present in our academic life, sporting life and working life, even seeping into our personal life as we strive to cooperate. It’s an area filled with clichés and sayings like ‘2 minds are better than one’ and ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much’ Helen Keller. And while, yes, the recital of these quotes passed off as ‘inspiration’ in a boardroom meeting or morning briefing might make you cringe, there is truth in each of them… well, most of them!
As with each and every aspect of our personalities, teamwork is instilled in us all differently; some of us are, naturally, lone wolves or have never experienced a hard working, well cooperating team; for some of us it just comes naturally, you’ll know which one of these you are, but which one are your employees? Do they need a little persuasion to accept the team mentality and collaborative way of life? Because once they’ve experienced a well oiled, working machine, they’ll wonder how they ever did it alone!
Why Is It Better For Staff To Work As A Team?
Encouraging staff to work as a team encourages communication amongst them. Even if the team is only a team for a specific project or period of time, the communication should prevail as a skill throughout the rest of their working relationships, improving productivity and the working environment.
We’ll refer you back to the saying ‘two minds are bette than one”. In a team there are more minds dedicated to and concentrated on one task, document or proposal; there are more proofreaders, fact checkers and idea critics – in short, there are more barriers to any mistakes slipping through the net.
Your staff are working toward a common goal; this brings them together no matter of different personality traits, how likely or unlikely they may have been to work together or help each other of their own accord or even spend time together socially. When staff are all working as one, they’re working toward a common goal that they benefit equally from; a unified team is a dream for managers and employers, to see a cooperative team of employees in the workplace, all peddling towards a bigger goal.
The business overall benefits from a successful team, actively and harmoniously working together. Productivity is increased by not only all of the above, as you develop a more streamlined and cooperative workforce, but purely and directly from teamwork too. Problem solving and idea generating can be much more efficient and inventive when we tap into a ‘hive mind’. It also gives your staff opportunity to consider different points of view and thought processes.
Yes, communication is going to be our first tip as well as our first reason. Communication is key.
Without communication, the team will not be in sync and the team will not be productive. A common goal and clear aim needs to be set out for your team, if this aim comes from management, then your team still needs to ensure that everyone is beginning with the same, clear understanding across the board. They will need to have their own plan from hour one of how they are going to proceed with the task in hand, who will start where, when will each piece be finished in order to start the next, etc.
Either throughout the project it’s a good idea for teams to have their own line of communication that everyone is comfortable with – email is fine if that’s what they prefer but workplace messaging apps like Slack or Gmail’s Hangout Chat are an easier and less formal way of keeping up with the team.
That is, less the act of giving rewards, that’s up to you as an employer, but more that the rewards, praise and discipline need to be equal. Unless one member of the team is clearly and undeniably at fault, if your team is not meeting the deadline, the team is to blame and the team gets the warning, discipline or nudge to hurry the project along. Equally when the project succeeds the whole team is praised, not only one or two members.
Give it time, if you’re just introducing this culture to your workplace or some staff are new to the teamwork mentality, then give it time. It might not take straight away, some encouragement might be needed to point the team in the right direction but equally don’t micromanage or the team won’t ever successfully form with your constant interjection.