We keep coming across the term teamwork, especially in an organizational setup. Team leaders, too, keep stressing the need for teamwork and try various team building activities to ensure the team’s cohesiveness. But there are always some members who feel more comfortable working individually. They might be sincere in their work and deliver what is expected, so they question the need for teamwork. This article is for them.
Why Is Teamwork Important?
A person has strengths and weaknesses – this is true for everyone. So, when we bring a group of people together as a team, they make up for one person’s weaknesses and learn from the other person’s strengths. Learning takes place just by observing other people in the team.
Why do people get together and brainstorm ideas? Why can’t they just sit at their desk, think about a problem, and devise a solution?
- When a person analyses an idea independently, he has only his experience and knowledge to help him.
- But when a group of people get together and discuss an issue, the problem is dealt with using their collective knowledge.
- Sometimes, it is not even the question of solving an issue, and it might be something as simple as changing a product or service for the better and meeting customers’ needs even before the customers realize it.
Everyone stresses the need for effective communication, but teamwork can ensure it.
An individual who is not part of a team will not communicate his knowledge regarding the project on hand to others. This might be unintentional, but the fact remains that his knowledge remains his alone.
- Let us take the example of two employees working on different parts of a project but towards the same goal.
- One employee takes a path the other knows will not work. Still, in the absence of a proper communication channel, they fail to appraise each other of what they are doing individually.
- As a result, the employee has to go through the process of trying out his way and finding out for himself that the process did not work.
- The other employee, too, is obliged to wait.
- If they had been working together, they would have appropriately communicated, and valuable time could have been saved.
- A person working alone might not have the courage to take unconventional paths.
- This curbs originality as the fear of failure always lurks at the back of the mind.
- With the strength and support of a team behind him, the same person will be much more open to trying out new ideas.
- Teams also give a sense of belonging. No one likes being socially isolated, and teams remove isolation from the equation.
Win-Win for Everyone
- A team working on a problem achieves a solution faster than if the same team members were to work towards an answer individually.
- The organization benefits, team spirit is enhanced, and the members develop into well-rounded individuals.
Teamwork – Ways to Achieve It
Every leader understands the need for and the benefits of teamwork. But how does one go about building a cohesive team? Making people work together as a team is easier said than done. Especially for people who are not very outgoing, working in a group can prove to be quite a challenge. So, how does a leader promote teamwork?
Lead by Example
- A leader who wants to promote teamwork will start with being a better team player himself.
- By asking team members for their views on projects, he is dealing with and by getting more involved in their work by offering feedback and suggestions, a leader can open up to his team members.
- Not all team members will be immediately comfortable with the leader’s involvement. Still, in the long run, this will open up communication channels, and the members will also start to emulate their leader’s behaviour.
- At the end of a project, a leader can reward his entire team for a job done well.
- This works better than individual rewards as it will encourage the members to help each other since they know the credit will go to all of them in the end.
- The leader can also recognize the best team player.
Appraise Your Team on Changes
- If a team member’s role changes, make sure the entire team is aware of it.
- Members often don’t help each other out simply because they do not know the other person’s role.
- Transparency on roles will help team members understand what other team members are doing.
Team Building Activities
- Often the key to creating a successful team is to get the team members comfortable with each other.
- For this, team-building activities help immensely.
- The activity usually involves something the team must achieve by working together.
- Team building activities are enjoyed by all members and promote a sense of camaraderie.
- Unresolved differences among team members will affect their ability to work together.
- People naturally will prefer working with those whom they get along with.
- So, helping to resolve conflicts among members will bring the team closer together.
Conducive Office Layout
- The workspace has an indirect but significant effect on team building.
- Ideally, team members should be placed in proximity to one another, and teams that collaborate together should also be in each other’s vicinity to improve workflow and communication.
- Smaller-sized conference rooms too can be considered as they are less intimidating and people feel more comfortable voicing their opinions.
Bringing a team together is not difficult; it just takes time and effort. But when the efforts pay off, the result benefits everyone.