Teamwork is a combined effort on the part of a group of people working together to achieve the same goal. Teamwork is built on three parts: vision, trust and communication.
The first step to team building is to create a vision for the team. What is the team’s purpose and how will the team reach its goals? All team members need to be able to trust in one another. Trust requires that all teammates are honest and use communication to share information and ideas openly. This leads us to the final part: communication. Good communication allows teammates to achieve more together than they could ever have achieved separately.
The Teamwork Skills program takes a more detailed look at the three parts—vision, trust and communication—we also examine the following skill areas:
- Respecting Others
- Active Listening
- Demonstrating Reliability
- Solving Problems
Respect is critical in order for any team to be successful. The difference between a successful team and a failing team is whether or not the teammates get along with one another. So how does one show respect for teammates at work?
Tips for Respecting Others
- Think about how you would like to be treated and try to treat everyone that way
- Don’t gossip or talk about the other members of the team
- Be open-minded towards the members of your team
One of the most important parts about working in a team is active listening. In order for a team to work well, team members need to listen to one another. Active listening involves you with the person who is speaking and causes you to understand to what is being said. In a previous post, we discuss the social skill of actively listening.
Tips for Active Listening
- Make eye contact while the team member is talking
- Don’t allow any distractions
- Ask any clarifying questions
To demonstrate or show reliability means to show people that they can depend on you. A team needs to be able to rely or count on all members of the team to do their parts. The major benefit of having teammates is that you can achieve more as a team than you can individually. However, this only happens if each teammate demonstrates or shows reliability.
Tips for Demonstrating Reliability
- Always follow through on promises
- Ask for help when needed
- Offer help when needed
Working as an Active Participant
Every team is only as strong as its weakest member. All it takes is one weak member to bring the entire group down. Sometimes a silent group member can be just as harmful to the group as a negative group member. Someone who fails to participate is not only failing to add value, but is taking the place of someone else who could add value to the group.
Tips for working as an Active Participant
- Contribute to meetings/projects
- Take notes during meetings to help you remember
- Offer constructive criticism when necessary
Communication is how we share our ideas, knowledge and information. It’s important that the lines of communication are open in order for a group to work well together. Information needs to be shared among group members so that everyone is on the same page and knows what is happening. Being a good communicator is what helps you to make a sale, persuade other people to change their minds or give someone instructions on how to do a task. Without good communication skills, none of these tasks are possible.
Tips for Communicating with Your Team
- Always respond to messages or questions from members of the team
- Keep the team members posted on your project/work
- Come prepared to any meetings with the team
Problem solving is the ability to work through problems by using critical thinking skills to arrive at a solution. In the workplace, you will face new problems every day. Sometimes you’ll be expected to solve these problems on your own, other times you will work with a team to solve the problem. Sometimes a team is created just for the purpose of solving a specific problem. Problem solving as a team gives you a better chance of coming up with the best solution or result.
Tips for Solving Problems
- Always ask for help when needed
- Collaborate with the team to solve problems
- Research ideas to solve the problem