Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Importance of Teamwork
Since the turn of the century, you’ve probably noticed business magazines and news outlets talking about how open-office layouts, stand-up meetings, and technology have become the norm to drive team collaboration.
Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Slack, Zoom, and many other applications have become the primary way to keep team members connected and in the know when it comes to everything that everyone is doing. And synergy is not a fad or a way to lower overhead costs. Extensive research confirms that when people work smart and in unison, it can boost productivity, creativity, engagement, communication, and efficiency—all words that should be music to your ears as a business owner.
A Team is Stronger than the Sum of its Members
In the competitive digital age, all businesses need to focus on efficiency to drive the bottom line. Now more than ever, teamwork is what any small business needs to succeed.
Synergy is crucial to maximize your staff and make sure everyone is as productive as possible by bringing out each other’s best in the workplace. But what is synergy? Well, by definition, synergy is “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects” (Waite, 2012). This means that while all your team members individually might be great at what they do, when they come together they should be even better than the sum of their individual results.
An easy way to visualize this is by imagining that you have three employees, and you ask them to load a truck with boxes from your warehouse. If each one goes back and forth carrying boxes, they will get the job done, but it would take much longer than if they create a chain and pass the boxes from hand to hand in a single row to get them all flowing into the truck much faster. Now, this was a very basic example to demonstrate how synergy and teamwork go hand-in-hand. But the growth of the result can be exponential when everyone in your business works together towards the same goal. And that is when teamwork makes the dream work.
A Team Should Support Each Other
A Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% “feel burned out at work” very often or always, while another 44% say they sometimes feel this way (Wigert & Agrawal, 2020). That’s where the teamwork makes the dream work. Because it’s been proven that team members can provide emotional support to each other by sharing the workload. Not only do they understand the demands and stress of the job, but they can also build a sense of camaraderie while helping each other out. This, in return, makes the team much more robust as they grow together.
You may be thinking that this is all great for the business, but what is in it for the employees? Why would they want to collaborate to help the company be successful? It turns out that many studies show how team members benefit just as much as the companies they work for. In 2018, American Psychologist released “The Science of Teamwork”—an entire special issue dedicated to the psychology of collaboration—showcasing 20 articles demonstrating the importance of teamwork in a wide variety of workplace settings; with evidence that cooperation can make the team smarter, more creative, and thus, more successful (McDaniel et al., 2018).
Recipe for Success
There are a few ingredients required to build a dream team. But keep in mind that even if your existing team doesn’t seem to have all of these teamwork components, these are skills that can be learned and improved. As a team leader, you must determine which members need the most work and focus on those first.
6 Components of a Great Team
To have a successful business, the components of teamwork that you need to implement are straightforward. The key is to be consistent and firm. Here is a laundry list that, if fully implemented, will become the foundation upon which to build a synergetic team:
Your team must have a clear vision. It is imperative for everyone on the team to be rowing in the same direction. Everyone must come together to fulfill a common purpose that is in line with each individual’s goals.
Each team member must have clear responsibilities. The easiest way to make sure that everyone feels important and valuable to the team is by providing structure. As mentioned previously, you do not want to have redundancies. But if your team members don’t know what they are each responsible for, they may end up stepping on each other’s toes. They should know exactly how their role contributes to the team’s performance.
Positive team culture. Culture is crucial in team-building, and respect is always at the forefront. Everyone needs to feel like they are contributing to the business’s overall success to remain engaged and motivated. Promoting a collaborative culture will allow members to open up and rely on each other. A little bit of positive reinforcement can go a very long way.
Solid processes. Determining standards of communication, structured meetings, and documented procedures defining expectations, guidelines, and work styles will help everyone understand their responsibilities and how their results will be evaluated.
Feedback systems. The best way to fix a problem is by addressing it head on as soon as it happens. Respectful, positive, and constructive criticism will allow everyone to address their shortcomings and improve their performance. Tools such as individual performance assessments, team progress reports, and celebrating the team’s successes are important. Because when teamwork makes the dream work, the team should be rewarded.
External support. Teams need to know that they have the support they need when required. Management should set up their teams for success and be available to address concerns as they arise. Empowering teams to make decisions at their level is important, but also providing access to resources needed to act upon those decisions is crucial.
When you bring together the skills, the positive energy, and the knowledge of a motivated team, you and your staff can accomplish anything you set your minds to. After all, teamwork makes the dream work.
What makes your team work?
How do you motivate your team?