Teamwork – how important it really is for your company and the right ways to bring it back to life.

The thought of getting things done with others in a team sounds tempting. Putting the one man show to an end and being left with the cozy feeling of achieving great things together. But with time it seems that “teamwork” has lost its positive image. Efficiency and motivation of employees are being questioned increasingly. At the end of the day we have to ask ourselves what values a company really needs so that teamwork can work again.

The virtue of a “team-minded” employee seems to be one of the most important ones in today’s job market. According to the job market website, every fifth job offer includes the word “team-minded”. A quality that apparently is still highly relevant in the modern working world.

The German weekly “Spiegel” recently headlined on the subject of teamwork: “Together we are stupid”. A quite devastating verdict. It was established on the assumption that working in a group will make employees “lazy and stupid”. The temptation of passing tasks on to your colleagues instead of handling them yourself is too big when working on a team project. Sounds about right but also makes people really unhappy, a study showed. The study also revealed that during a 40 hour work week, US employees spend 21 of those hours in meetings. Alongside the 21 meeting hours, precious time is also utilized to replying to emails. As you can imagine, it’s easy to keep a low profile once in a while when working in a team, without anyone noticing.

Teamwork shows weak points in a company

On the other hand, teamwork can also be used to pinpoint problems or weaknesses of a company. When working on something in a group, weak spots will rise to the surface much quicker. Whether it’s bad communication, mobbing or a strong hierarchy, counterproductive structures will become apparent within a team. There are a few essential factors that will determine if the bond to the employer can become thicker and motivation levels can rise.

Checklist: This is how to strengthen teamwork in your company

  1. It’s great to have you! Only if every employee is seen as an individual value to the company, they will be willing to contribute to the company’s success.
  2. Talk to me! Communication is one of the most important factors when it comes to great teamwork. Badly communicated projects will either take up a lot of time until they run out or not even make it till the end. A clear preparation of a project and a continuous communication structure will allow for a successful workflow. 

  3. Together we are strong! Teams are only teams when a group of individuals becomes a community. Lone wolfs have to be integrated and defined within the interaction.

  4. You can do it! Not only the corporate management has its goals set, employees have needs and ambitions as well. That’s why it is important to consider individual wishes of the people who work for you. Is there a field in which someone wants to improve their skills? Administrate divisions differently or combine smart teams that can profit from one another. 

  5. The future is coming! Projects and teamwork should not just approach short term solutions. Only by pursuing long term goals you can attach employees to a task in a sustainable way.

  6. Culture and values are living! Your company’s values are your company’s DNA and determine the vision of an employee. Only companies that can demonstrate their profile and identity in an authentic way can communicate their values. What a company stands for should be written down in an agenda. Diversity has become more and more important at this point.

Implementing structure and maintenance into your planning

It is important for employees to have set structures and rituals within the company. Those should be determined and outlined by the project leader in advance. Decide when and how often team meetings should be taking place to strengthen the communication and to update on the current situation of the project.

It is also crucial to create safe channels that provide an opportunity for criticism and remarks. If an employee’s criticism is being appreciated, there is more space for coming forward with personal grievances. This can take place on a personal or anonymous, digital level.

Essentially, it is vital to raise awareness among company and project leaders for opportunities and risks regarding teamwork and to make arrangements that guarantee success within a company.

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Jasmin Daneschumand

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