To genuinely achieve success, it has always been necessary for an organisation to embrace teamwork. As today’s economy places greater pressure upon organisations to be highly competitive, agile and innovative, collaboration has become a vital aspect of an organisation’s practice, requiring teamwork across different job roles, business sites and hierarchies, all to achieve a common goal. Teamwork is also important for employees, leading to greater engagement with their work and increased wellbeing, sense of belonging and job satisfaction.
The Business Dictionary defines teamwork as:
“The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.”
Effective teamwork comprises a committed group of people working together in a synergised manner, working towards a shared goal. By employing teamwork strategies, the individual strengths of each of the team members are maximised. Teams must be appropriately managed to ensure that a team works well together.
The title of this blog post is TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More. But how does this work in practice? Why should we encourage teamwork? Following are some of the key reasons why teamwork is so important.
- Ideas – Perhaps the most important benefit of teamwork is the innovation and idea development which arise from the synergies involved in having a group of people think, create, develop and work together. There is a much greater scope for creativity when people work in a team. People have greater confidence in sharing ideas and their ideas are less limited to “safe” options. Teams also allow for the collaboration of a group of people with diverse backgrounds, knowledge and skills. It is true that we are greater than the sum of our parts.
- Communication – Teamwork inherently involves an increase in communication, with opportunities for discussion, brainstorming, meetings and collaboration. People communicate more frequently and learn to communicate better to get buy-in for their ideas.
- Motivation – Teamwork leads to increased motivation for employees or participants. A recent Stanford University study found that when people are treated as team members, their motivation increases. This increase in motivation leads to improved outcomes for projects.
- Efficiency – Teamwork greatly improves efficiency. There are more people on board to tackle problems which arise, more people to develop innovative ideas, a better distribution of work across people’s skills sets and a shared responsibility which allow work to be achieved quicker.
- Workload – In an effective team, the workload is distributed fairly and evenly across all people involved according to levels of skill, experience, involvement and responsibility for a particular project. Team members can also help each other with various aspects of work when people have capacity to assist. By distributing and managing the workload across a team, team members are more likely to have the appropriate amount of work to do and have avenues to receive assistance if needed.
- Learning – Teamwork provides an excellent opportunity for people to develop professionally and to learn from others. Team members may acquire knowledge from others and may adopt new skills. Each team member serves as a learning resource for other team members.
- Support – Strong team relationships offer great support to people within an organisation. Teamwork promotes equitable relationships and a sense of camaraderie. Team members rely on each other for support, develop trust and grow confidence. In this way, teams offer better avenues for achieving the goals of the relevant project. By providing support in this way, teams also increase the wellbeing and satisfaction of those in the team.
- Overcoming obstacles – When an individual faces obstacles, these may often be difficult to overcome alone. By working together, a team can tackle obstacles as a shared challenge and more easily conquer them.
- Synergy – Teamwork takes advantage of every team member’s strengths. Teamwork creates a synergistic relationship and environment in which strengths are maximised, weaknesses are minimised and the best is brought out of each team member. The strengths of each team member are complimented by others and the team as a whole has the ability to achieve great things.
- Empowerment – As team members are supported by the team as a whole, restraints which they may usually face are removed and they are empowered and provided with increased confidence to succeed.
- Less hierarchy – Teamwork allows for less traditional hierarchies and has seen a great increase within the workplace of team leadership roles rather than traditional management structures. This allows team members to be more involved with their colleagues, to have greater engagement with their supervisors and to have greater personal accountability.
- Flexibility and Agility – By having a team of people at the ready to respond to all aspects of a project, the team as a whole is more responsive to change and issues which may arise and more flexible and agile in the way that it can respond.
- Multi-disciplinary & diversity – By having people work together, there is an inevitable mix of disciplines, backgrounds, personalities, skills, knowledge and ideas. This diversity or what I like to term ‘positive human collisions’ offers great potential for projects to be innovative and successful, allows team members to learn and develop from others and generally fosters a healthier and more inclusive atmosphere within an organisation.
Go forward and embrace teamwork within your organisation. Teamwork leads to amazing benefits for both the organisation and all of the individuals involved.
Tania de Jong AM is an acclaimed Australian soprano, award-winning social entrepreneur, creative innovation catalyst, global speaker and spiritual journeywoman. She is the Founder of Creative Universe, Creativity Australia, Creative Innovation Global, Dimension5 co-working hub, MTA Entertainment & Events, Pot-Pourri and The Song Room and works with diverse communities through Creativity Australia’s With One Voice choir social inclusion programs and the global community wellbeing video challenge Sing for Good. She works across the public, private, creative and community sectors. Tania speaks and sings around the world as a soloist and with her group Pot-Pourri releasing 7 CDs. She is Founder and Executive Producer of award-winning future-shaping events series, Creative Innovation Global. Tania’s TED Talk How Singing Together Changes The Brain has sparked international interest. Tania recently released her solo CD Heaven on Earth and will shortly release her new CD Flying Free. Tania’s mission is to change the world, one voice at a time!
Creative Innovation 2017 Asia Pacific “Human Intelligence 2.0 – Thriving in the Age of Acceleration” will take place 13-15th November 2017 in Melbourne. Creative Innovation Global is now regarded as the leading future-shaping innovation conference in the Southern Hemisphere.