What is Teamwork?
It is the ability of team members to work together, communicate effectively, anticipate and meet each other’s demands, and inspire confidence, resulting in a coordinated collective action.
Four Characteristics of Teamwork
1. Performance Monitoring
When working in groups, we tend to analyze how others are handling their chores. This type of natural observation promotes better group accountability. No one wants to appear as a “lagger” among team members. Thus we try to adjust our pace and quality of work to the stands set by others. Because of such alignment, the team as a unit functions smoother.
When working in teams, we don’t just watch others — we also provide feedback on how well they are coping with the job. Such a rapport helps the team’s performance and respectively — drives efficiency. For this to happen, team members must feel comfortable providing and accepting feedback to everyone else, despite the rank of tenure.
Free-flowing feedback is the defining characteristic of high-performing teams.
3. Closed loop communication
Good communication is vital for effective teamwork. There’s a specific type of rapport that most teams assume. It’s called “closed-loop communication”. A closed loop conversation looks like this: 👇🏾
Sender: “Matthew, I need you to create a new DABA kids landing page by Monday.”
Receiver: “Got it, Moski. I will send the mock-ups to your DM by Monday.”
Sender: “Great, thanks!”
Such a repetition serves several purposes. First, it provides the “sender” with an acknowledgment that their message landed. The “receiver”, in turn, better remembers the message contents, plus verifies its correctness with the sender yet again. Closed-loop communication helps prevent misunderstanding and ensures more smooth information flows between all team participants.
4. Back up behaviors
“I’ve got your back!” is the sentiment you experience working in a well-managed team. It arises from the fact that other members are willing to step in when needed and support you. This happens when all team members know how and when to ask for help (without the fear of being judged).
Why is Teamwork Important?
Improved productivity and operational effectiveness
Research shows that a strong sense of community (common vision and mission, great coworkers, and culture) prompts employees to stay longer with their employer.
Higher Employee Engagement
Research shows that employee engagement strongly correlates with the overall levels of teamwork in the workplace. Well-oiled teams tend to be more productive and experience lower turnover.
Better financial outcomes for the business
Without effective teamwork, organizations struggle to move forward with new initiatives and frequently fail to complete them. Team performance directly affects project timelines and success rates.
More creative ideas and solutions
On the other hand, well-managed and diverse teams drive better financial outcomes for organizations. McKinsey found teams made up of members from diverse backgrounds are more creative and perform better than homogeneous teams.
Some Characteristics of Successful Teams
- Commitment to team success and shared goals
Teams should be dedicated to the task at hand.
Team members support and encourage each other.
- Interpersonal Skills
Team members communicate candidly with each other.
- Open Communicate and positive feedback
Be ready to receive and give constructive feedback.
- Appropriate team composition
Team members should understand their roles and responsibilities.
- Commitment to team process
Team members should know the standard operating practices.