Developing Teamwork in the Workplace

Max De Pree, author for Fortune Magazine and Leadership, defines “teamwork as an art. The key elements in the art of working together are how to deal with change, how to deal with conflict and how to reach our potential. The needs of the team are best met when we meet the needs of individual persons.”

Teamwork is essential is any setting, hence we are taught to work in groups since kindergarten. Individually, we can only achieve so much, however together we are so much stronger and importantly, more productive. Still, for something that has obvious benefits, it is so hard to do. Working in teams has its own share of drama, bickering, stress, etc. In fact, it can be so hectic, that many people prefer not to work in teams at all. So, how and why would it benefit employers to facilitate teamwork in the workplace?

According to Michigan State University Extension, teamwork in the workplace may be defined differently business to business and person to person, but it generally includes these four elements:

  • Cooperation – contribute and share the workload.
  • Relationships – willingness to cooperate. You cannot just do one’s own thing separately from others. This includes respect for yourself and one another.
  • Learning – reaching a common goal while learning about one another, new knowledge and skills along the way.
  • Leadership – may be shared or established through a team leader.

As stated before, working together makes us a stronger company. How? Working together gives us a better idea about the other team members. We understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can satisfy each other’s insufficiencies. In addition to creating a sense of brotherhood, teamwork also increases productivity and efficiency. Furthermore, teams that work well together are comfortable solving problems, identifying solutions and coming up with new opportunities.

So let us look at how you can facilitate teamwork in your company:

  • Keep in mind that not everyone can work in a team. Introverts for example love to work alone and excel in that manner. Forcing them to work in teams will increase their stress and will impact their happiness and productivity.
  • Choose a leader who has the employees’ trust and will keep the team together and on track. Selecting an inappropriate leader or an inexperienced one can lead the team to chaos.
  • Encourage everyone to participate and come up with ideas. Everyone’s voice should be heard and everyone’s ideas should be implemented.
  • Set tasks. Ensure that everyone knows what needs to be done and by when. Delegate tasks equally and fairly, everyone should be working equally. One employ should not feel that he is doing more work than another.
  • Keep an eye out for beginnings of any problems within the team. Bickering, back-bitching, apathy, frustration, etc. are all signs that things may be headed for trouble.
  • In case there are problems, or conflict among the members, address the issues immediately, especially when the problem is still small. Do not wait for the problem to grow into something bigger.
  • Teams work best when the people in them relate to each other or have a sense of bond with the other members. Think about having work sessions or team-building exercises where people share about their lives, or they get together and go out to lunch, play sports or participate in recreational activities.
  • Encourage your team. Show them that you know how hard they are working and that you appreciate their hard work. This will ensure that they will continue to work hard. Consider implementing incentives for work well done. After all, encouragement helps build commitment.

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