Why is Teamwork Important?
Why is teamwork important? Well it’s one thing to create a team, but quite another to create teamwork.
Just as it’s one thing to join a team, but quite another to perform as a team member. To put it simply, teams don’t work without teamwork. On this page you’ll find 8 good reasons why teamwork is important.
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What is teamwork? There are several ways to define teamwork but for some colour why not think of it as the French do. The French language has an excellent expression to describe it: esprit de corps.
This means a sense of unity, of enthusiasm for common interests and responsibilities, as developed among a group of persons closely associated in a task, cause, enterprise, etc.
Teamwork can be likened to two compounds, almost essential to modern life. It’s the glue which keeps a team together, a bond which promotes strength, unity, reliability and support.
Teamwork is also the oil that makes the team work. It can enable smoother movement towards targets, can prolong forward momentum, and can help teams to overcome obstacles.
Teamwork has the potential to underpin so much of what is valuable in work. In fact, the benefits to be gained from teamwork synergies are essential for the effective management of resources.
Why is Teamwork Important? 8 Good Reasons!
What a difference teamwork makes. Teams and teamwork have become a central part of our work life. Why is teamwork important? Because:
- Creates synergy – where the sum is greater than the parts.
- Supports a more empowered way of working, removing constraints which may prevent someone doing their job properly.
- Promotes flatter and leaner structures, with less hierarchy.
- Encourages multi-disciplinary work where teams cut across organizational divides.
- Fosters flexibility and responsiveness, especially the ability to respond to change.
- Pleases customers who like working with good teams (sometimes the customer may be part of the team).
- Promotes the sense of achievement, equity and camaraderie, essential for a motivated workplace.
- When managed properly, teamwork is a better way to work!
Why is teamwork important? It doesn’t mean everybody doing the same thing or everybody being able to do each other’s jobs. It’s more a means to a synergistic way of working, where the sum is greater than the parts. Properly managed, teamwork maximizes strengths, bringing out the best in each team member, a key theme on this site. These specific, possibly unique individual strengths are then complimented by the strengths of others, or of the team as a unit.
The value of teamwork is regularly seen in sports. How often do we see teams made up of expensive star players outperformed by teams with players who may be individually less talented. Assuming transfer price tags really are an indicator of talent! The answer lies in two things. The synergistic value of teamwork (our glue and oil), and in the crucial role of the manager.
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Here you’ll find some excellent resources on each of these 8 topics:
Why is Teamwork Important? Ask a Company of Friends…
From the Happy Manager perspective teamwork can support crucial social networks which encourage happiness and performance.
Why is Teamwork Important?
In: What Makes a Happy Company we discussed the value of a good manager. In particular we’ve noted the experiences of Hal Rosenbluth who built a small, family-owned travel business into one of the largest retail travel chains in the United States.
He described his initial experience of working in the family business, observing that it seemed to be “full of unhappy people producing unhappy service and deteriorating profitability.”
Rosenbluth’s own business philosophy evolved from two things. Firstly, his experience of bad management. He joined the family business after leaving college at the age of 22, and “wandered around the company working for one lousy manager after another.
Each added to a growing list of negative role models with whom I had come in contact over the years. Fortunately, I learned a lot from these negative role models”.
Secondly, the recognition that it was his friends who came to his aid, and stayed with him, during the trying times.
“Friends never let friends down. This realization led to my plan to build a company of friends. First, I had to create and sustain an environment that would breed friendships. Second, I would only hire nice people.”
UK entrepreneur, Richard Branson, echoes some of Rosenbluth’s points:
“What matters is working with a few close friends, people you respect, knowing that if times did turn bad these people would hold together.”
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Not all teams are made up of friends. Nor, for that matter, do they need to be, in order for them to be effective.
Teamwork does however, have the potential to foster a fulfilling, meaningful way of working together.
It’s not necessarily an easy option, nor a panacea for all organisational ills. However, working with a group of people, on a worthwhile activity, with a common goal, can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of work.
Try combining the insights from this article with the 9 great tools in our e-guide: Build a Better Team…..
- Setting direction and sharing your vision
- Establishing team goals
- Aligning individuals to team goals
- Setting SMART goals
- Defining teamwork workshop activity
- Determining the benefits of teamwork workshop activity
- Checklist for leading a team activity
- Guide to achieving synergy
- Team performance assessment
Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach, defined teamwork as "Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." There are many definitions of teamwork offered by sports figures, generals and company leaders. All of them agreeing on one thing; teamwork is extremely important for the success of a company. How you describe teamwork is also important, and once it is defined, it can be achieved.
Teamwork Multiplies Success
Teamwork has often been described as one plus one equals three. On teams, people can work together and accomplish much more than they could by themselves. This concept of synergy is how many sports teams achieve success. Often, the teams with the best players do not win championships. It is frequently the teams that work best together that accomplish great things. Your company can also accomplish great things when everyone is working together toward a common goal. Define that goal clearly and watch your people achieve it.
Teamwork Makes the Job Easier
The industrial revolution began the era of mass production and also the division of tasks in the workforce. Employees now specialize in areas and contribute to the team through the work they produce. By specializing in areas like merchandising or accounting, they become more expert at their tasks and make your team more effective as a result. Working in teams also teaches your associates to work together more effectively and frequently new ways of doing things are discovered by team members working together to solve a problem.
Teamwork Maximizes Strengths and Reduces Weaknesses
In team sports, team members work together in order to win. Individual weaknesses can be minimized through the efforts of the team. In football, for example, a weaker lineman receives help from a team mate to help block a competing player and the pass is completed successfully. In your company, you place your people where their strengths can be best used. People with the best human relations skills are placed in human resources and your best advertisers work in merchandising. Weaknesses can be reduced when your people concentrate on their areas of strength.
Teamwork Makes Work Fun
Work is more fun when you are a part of a team. You can build on other people's ideas and share in completing the assignment together. You also have another pair of eyes to look at the work, which further reduces errors and mistakes. Studies have also shown that laughter and fun reduce stress, which can also increase effectiveness on the job. Teams that enjoy working together can accomplish great things for your company and great teams achieve their goals again and again.
About the Author
Based in Bethlehem, Pa., Kermit Burley has been writing articles for over 30 years. His articles have appeared in "Training" magazine, as well as numerous company publications throughout the course of his career. Burley holds a Masters of Education in instructional design from Penn State and is certified as a trainer and instructional designer.
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