Teamwork – a Definition
Teamwork refers to the collaboration of multiple individuals (at least two) with a focus on achieving a common goal. The shared objective is known to all team members, and each participant takes responsibility for the associated tasks. For teams to work well together and for a company to benefit from such teamwork it needs productive working conditions at a workplace.
Advantages of Teamwork
Depending on the task at hand it can make a lot of sense for the overall productivity of employees to have a sense of teamwork and a shared vision to work towards. Furthermore, decisions made by multiple people and solutions developed together are sensible ways to minimize the risk of making mistakes.
Teamwork is considered a key qualification for every employee in a company. Bundled knowledge and experience lead to the best and often most sustainable results. Promoting teamwork is essential to implement a goal, plan or project in the best possible and most promising way.
Ten Key Rules for Effective Teamwork
Positive teamwork is determined by the contributions and qualifications of individual team members. Various rules for teamwork have been established as important characteristics of teamwork.
- Clear Goal Setting: The goal should be clearly formulated and understood by all team members.
- Openness and Transparency in Communication: Team members should communicate openly with each other.
- Shared Responsibility: All team members should take responsibility for the team's tasks.
- Respectful and Appreciative Behavior: Team members should treat each other with respect and appreciation without blaming each other.
- Task Allocation Based on Strengths and Abilities: Tasks should be assigned based on each team member's strengths and abilities.
- Constructive Conflict Resolution: Address existing conflicts in a constructive manner.
- Regular Feedback from the Supervisor: The supervisor should provide regular feedback to team members.
- Opportunity for Self-reflection (Coaching, Supervision): Team members should be able to reflect on their own behavior.
- Mutual Support from Team Members: Team members should support each other.
- Constructive Culture of Learning from Mistakes: Accept and learn from mistakes as a team.
Variations of Teamwork
There are various forms and models of teamwork, each adapted to the work area and its specific requirements.
A classic example is quality circles, which exist in numerous companies to solve internal quality issues and problems. This form of teamwork is typically moderated and aims to evaluate and improve existing conditions.
Another variation is project teams formed for the duration of a work project to promptly develop solutions for specific issues.
Virtual teams are increasingly important, particularly in light of the increased prevalence of working from home. Team members collaborate on common goals or tasks but are geographically separated.
Soft Skills for Successful Teamwork
In addition to the technical qualifications and competencies (hard skills) that every employee needs for their tasks, different soft skills are required in teamwork. Soft skills are the individual abilities and characteristics that an employee brings, which go beyond purely job-related expertise. Soft skills are the core of successful teamwork because they make collaboration possible in the first place.
Here is a selection of key soft skills needed in a team:
- Ability to accept and provide constructive criticism.
- Conflict resolution skills.
- Empathetic interaction with others.
- Talent for organized work.
- Flexibility in dealing with changes.
- Creativity in task execution.
- Capability to motivate oneself and others.
- Competence on an intra- and intercultural level.
- Fairness and team spirit.