Updated Oct 3rd, 2023 by Nicolas Zenker
In any work environment, figuring out how to create a strong feeling of teamwork is critical. Whether it’s building a sense of trust, focusing on the right kind of feedback, or offering helpful support to your team members, there are a number of things you can do to help create and improve workplace teamwork.
From the standpoint of productivity, a strong sense of teamwork is one of the most important things you can focus on. When a workspace features good teamwork, work quality increases, and so does creativity.
But it’s not just about making your team’s work better. Employees who feel like part of a well-functioning team are more likely to report higher job satisfaction, meaning they’re more likely to stay around longer. With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder successful businesses are usually investing in teamwork.
Leadership sets the mood and expectation for a team — the more excited your leadership is, the more likely your team is to succeed. Team leaders should focus on communication and setting clear priorities and goals, two strategies we’ll discuss more below. One critical aspect of good leadership is the ability to provide clear metrics for success — in other words, a good team leader demonstrates what high-quality work looks like so that team members can clearly identify and emulate it.
Teams work best when each member can bring their own unique strengths to the table, which means finding the right roles for each team member is critical. Making sure each employee’s responsibilities are clearly delineated is also an important part of improving teamwork and reducing any tension in the workplace.
If each team member’s responsibilities aren’t clear to everyone else on the team, it can lead to frustration and the loss of valuable time and resources, especially if multiple people are working on the same tasks. And when team members know what tasks they and their coworkers are responsible for, it makes collaboration and project management that much easier.
It’s only natural that a variety of viewpoints and different perspectives will help generate more exciting ideas and approaches to problem-solving — a vital aspect of giving your team a sense of purpose and drive. Striving to create a team that embodies diversity and inclusion will help energize your team’s decision-making process, filling the workspace with fresh ideas.
And while you might assume more like-minded people would get along better, a truly diverse team will see employees challenging others to up their game and rethink received notions and ideas. Allowing your team members to experience a rich, creative, and mutually respectful work environment is one of the surest ways to guarantee a lasting sense of collaboration and camaraderie.
Just like with any relationship, trust is a critical factor in working relationships. Getting your team members to trust one another is vital if you want your team to be successful. There are a variety of ways you can help build trust between your team members, including simple socializing — whether that’s an employee appreciation barbecue, a weekly happy hour, or a team-building exercise. One thing to keep in mind is that the more natural an employee event feels, the more likely it is to increase your team members’ bonds with one another. Events should be voluntary and have a casual feel — in other words, your team members should want to attend them, not feel like they have to.
But don’t forget that there’s a very professional aspect to trust in the workplace as well. To maximize great teamwork, team members need to be able to trust one another to perform their jobs and complete tasks effectively. When you feel like you can rely on a team member, your entire job becomes easier. Make sure to give individual team members new responsibilities and space to prove themselves — and when they’ve knocked it out of the park, make sure to point it out.
On a similar note, allowing your teams a certain degree of self-governance is important for improving teamwork. When a team can feel like a self-sufficient unit, you’ll naturally see members’ sense of identity as a team solidify and their engagement increase. The last thing you want is a team that doesn’t feel like it can come to its own decisions and is always waiting for orders from management to leap into action. What’s more, if team members don’t feel like they have the freedom to choose their own direction, they can grow to resent their work — a classic consequence of micromanagement.
On a practical level, this kind of freedom means allowing teams to develop their own workflows and processes, hammer out any interpersonal or communication issues that might arise, and set their own deadlines.
Teamwork is all about communication, which is why it’s so important to think critically about the ways you communicate with your team. In general, communication should happen often and should be focused and clear. When team members are on the same page, it’s easier for them to work together and resolve any issues that might arise in the course of their work together.
Internally, team members should feel comfortable speaking openly with one another, proposing ideas, and providing constructive feedback to one another. As we’ve seen, giving your team freedom to decide what processes work for them is incredibly important, and the same applies to communication. Different employees and different projects require different means of communication, which is why allowing your team to use whatever methods work best for them is key.
Finally, if you’re in charge of a team, it’s good to create a habit of giving constructive feedback and ongoing performance reviews. In general, these types of conversations should occur on a recurring schedule and should always have a clear focus. Finally, try not to focus on criticizing the past, but on providing insight and advice for future success.
Not surprisingly, team meetings are one of the best ways to establish a sense of teamwork. By bringing everyone together for an extended period of discussion and personal interaction, you’ll help team members form deeper bonds with one another. Getting to know one another’s interests and thought patterns — especially when it comes to problem-solving — also serves as a great reminder that each individual is bringing something unique to the team.
To get the most out of your team meetings, it’s important to have a structured plan or agenda for each meeting and to stick to it. While following your agenda closely, don’t forget to open up the meeting to comments and feedback from your team members, which helps to boost employee engagement. It’s always a great idea to end each team meeting by refocusing yourselves and clarifying a plan for moving forward and a few immediate action items.
We all want to improve workplace teamwork, but it’s easy to forget that “teamwork” itself doesn’t really exist without the particular project or goal you’re working towards. In other words, it’s easiest to improve teamwork when you’re focusing on the particulars. Being clear and concrete with your team’s goals will give you the space to think more clearly about what your team is doing right, and what could be improved. Whether you’re focused on improving sales, energizing product development, or just boosting employee performance, good teamwork is bound to look a little different in each context.
Part of setting clear goals for your team members is also about understanding what your organization’s purpose, mission, and long-term goals are. Clearly defining short-term, project-based objectives is vital for creating good teamwork, but a long-term vision is just as essential. When team members feel they’re contributing to an organizational narrative, they’re far more likely to feel motivated and committed to their work — and to one another.
When it comes to managing a team, one common mistake is to assume that there’s one structure or workflow that, once it’s set up, will continuously ensure the team is working at peak efficiency. But things should never be so set in stone, and in fact, continuing to insist on a set dynamic when it might not be working can demoralize team members and slow down critical projects.
If you’re in charge of a team, it’s vital to be a little more flexible and recognize that your team’s dynamic can and sometimes should change when new projects and tasks present themselves. This is true over the long term as well — if a particular team member consistently has trouble with particular tasks or roles, it’s in everyone’s best interest to make some changes. And while this might seem like a common-sense approach to maximizing teamwork, it can be easy to forget about the fundamentals of setting up a team when it’s already up and running.
When team members feel stagnant, lower job satisfaction and a weaker investment in the success of their team will naturally follow. Actively providing your team members with clear opportunities for growth and developing new skill sets will go a long way towards making sure a feeling of teamwork truly lasts. If each member of a team is constantly growing and learning new things, their other team members will naturally learn from them and support them, establishing a unique bond.
And while it’s important to make sure team members are developing their technical skills, you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that teamwork itself is a valuable professional skill that can also be approached systematically. Holding workshops, lectures, and other activities that break down how exactly to work on a team project can help establish a valuable baseline, guaranteeing everyone has a solid grasp of what it means to be an effective team player.
Of course, one of the easiest ways to ensure your team is on the same page and working together well is to take advantage of an integrated calendar management tool like AddEvent. From easily sharing events to collecting RSVPsand more, AddEvent can take the stress out of improving workplace teamwork.