8 Useful Ways to Enhance Teamwork in the Workplace

Teamwork. It’s a word that is thrown around in the office on a daily basis, but when was the last time you took a step back and actually evaluated the teamwork in your organization?

great teamwork in the workplace

Why is teamwork in the workplace important?

Without effective teamwork, productivity and quality of work will likely suffer, even with a group composed of multiple brilliant individuals. Likewise, without effective teams, companies will struggle to keep pace with competitors who do have effective teams.

Multiple studies have shown that promoting good teamwork in the workplace will have positive effects on productivity, quality of work, creativity, innovation and job satisfaction, all of which benefit the company itself.

In a recent study by Stanford, participants who were working on a team as opposed to working alone persevered longer on difficult tasks, showed more interest and enjoyment in working on the tasks, required less self-regulatory effort to complete tasks, and generally performed better on the tasks. The participants who were part of a team even decided to do more tasks related to those performed in the study in a personal setting 1-2 weeks after the study.

 

How can we improve teamwork in the workplace?

Now that we’ve established the importance of teamwork in the workplace, let’s talk about how we can improve. Here are 8 tips on how to improve teamwork within any organization.

1. Build diverse and inclusive teams

First and foremost, it is important that we focus on creating diverse teams rather than teams of all like-minded people. A group of people with different backgrounds are more likely to bring diverse perspectives and ideas to the table. With more perspectives, comes more thorough decision making. We often tend to want to surround ourselves with people who think and act in ways that reflect our own thoughts and actions.

While a group of like-minded individuals with similar backgrounds may get along great, we have to think about the bigger picture – Will they bring fresh ideas to the table? Will the team members challenge each other to tackle a project from all angles? Or, will the team members be so agreeable that they come up with ideas that don’t get questioned or elaborated upon? If all team members think the same way, come from similar backgrounds, and have the same beliefs and opinions, the work that the team produces will likely be one-sided and less creative. Whereas if each team member has unique opinions, beliefs, background, etc. they will likely produce work that reflects more creativity and innovation.

2. Clearly define roles and responsibilities for every team member

When team members are unsure of their own tasks and responsibilities, it often creates tension within a team. It is important for each team member to know exactly what he or she is responsible for so that there is no overlap in projects. If multiple employees are working on the same task due to confusion in responsibility, invaluable time and team effort spent on the task are wasted. Each individual should have responsibility in reaching the team goals as well as the tools and mutual support to obtain good results. Setting clear goals for each team member will help keep people aligned on their assigned tasks and responsibilities.

3. Build trust within the team

It’s difficult to work productively with somebody that you don’t trust. For this reason, trust is a dire need if you want to lead a successful team. Trust between team members can flourish by doing something as simple as attending a happy hour together, participating in simple team-building activities, or simply eating lunch together. It’s important to encourage team members to interact with each other outside of their work together. Not only will this build trust, but it will also likely increase employee morale and job satisfaction – work is more enjoyable when you enjoy the people you work with.

4. Encourage clear, frequent communication

As the saying goes, communication is key! Though this sounds like basic knowledge, it’s often passed over when analyzing how to improve teamwork in the workplace. We know that maintaining clear, frequent communication – especially with large and/or remote teams – is easier said than done. Clear and frequent communication will ensure that all team members are on the same page, leading to more accurate work being completed on a shorter timeline. Strong communication also helps to build trust between team members, thus improving the overall performance of the team.

 

encourage team communication and collaboration

5. Give teams autonomy in decision-making

Trusting your team members with making their own decisions is important in building trust and improving teamwork. Oftentimes, if people don’t have the autonomy and power to make decisions regarding their own work, they will begin to resent their work, thus hindering the work of the entire team. In order to keep team members engaged and working hard, it’s important to provide all members with the freedom to make their own decisions.

6. Manage team meetings wisely

Team meetings, however often they happen, should be used to plan, brainstorm, reflect, and share ideas. It’s important to keep team meetings focused and useful, in order to drive productivity. No matter how often teams meet, they should have a structured plan for each meeting. This will help to keep meetings organized and productive, thus driving team performance. Meetings are a time for team collaboration, brainstorming, and creating a plan to move forward with projects.

7. Don’t be afraid to reorganize team dynamics

If certain roles and/or responsibilities aren’t working out for some team members, it’s important to make some changes. You cannot be afraid to regroup and reassign tasks as necessary to improve the team dynamic and productivity. If team members are in roles in which they are not succeeding, this will negatively impact the entire team – in most teams, each person’s work is dependent on the work of one or more other team members’ work. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that all team members are in fitting roles that will allow them to use the skills they have and unlock potential for themselves and all team members.

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8. Provide the team with learning opportunities

How can we expect everyone to be perfect team players if they’ve never actually learned how to work on a team project? How to work on a team may sound obvious to some people, but it does not come naturally for everyone. To maximize the benefits of teamwork in the workplace, it is important to provide your team with proper training and guidance. Providing learning opportunities will not only enhance teamwork skills, but will also increase employees’ engagement and job satisfaction. Workshops and qualified guest speakers from outside of the organization are a great way to ensure that all team members understand the importance of teamwork in the workplace as well as how to be an effective team member.

Evidence has shown that strong teamwork has the potential to increase employee satisfaction and productivity, while decreasing turnover and absenteeism, ultimately assisting the company in reaching higher profit margins. Promoting successful teamwork in the workplace will benefit your company in numerous ways. However, strong teams are not thrown together overnight.

 

To see the benefits of having a successful team dynamic, it’s important to focus on the basics; build diverse and inclusive teams, define roles and responsibilities within the team, build trust between team members before demanding outputs, drive clear communication, allow team members to work autonomously, productively manage team meetings, restructure the group responsibilities as needed, and provide learning opportunities for the team.