Teamwork is an intensive and active form of cooperation between individuals in a team or work group. The team consists of at least two people. Communication between team members and mutual support are central processes in teamwork. Unlike group work, in which the focus is on the processing of individual subtasks, teamwork focuses more on the exchange relationship. This usually lasts for a longer period of time. The team pursues a common goal and takes joint responsibility for achieving the goal. To achieve the goal, the team members contribute their complementary skills and abilities to the work process. If there is a strong team spirit, the cooperation is characterized by a sense of togetherness and loyalty, and the team members contribute in the best possible way. A high level of group cohesion is usually reinforced by the attractiveness of the team, for example, when team members derive prestige benefits and satisfaction of needs from identifying with the group. Festinger distinguishes between three cohesion forces: the attractiveness that a group has on its members, the attractiveness between these members (e.g., sympathy), and the attractiveness of the task. A high level of cohesion can create meaning and identity. The higher the group cohesion, the greater the likelihood that individuals will conform to the goals and norms of the group and normalize their behavior accordingly. Interindividual differences are thus reduced. If the group has a high performance norm and at the same time strong group cohesion, this can have a performance-enhancing effect. If the group norm is less pronounced, this can have the opposite effect. Strong competition among each other and unequal conditions (e.g., high wage differentials) can reduce cohesion.
Teamwork makes it possible to distribute competencies and initiate a transfer of know-how and experience. One of the reasons teams are formed is to stimulate this exchange and to distribute complex tasks among the respective competence bearers. This is intended to increase productivity and have a positive effect on work results. Teamwork is less suitable when routine tasks are involved and the interdependence between employees and task processes is low. In this case, individual work may make more sense.
Sense of belonging
No one wants to be left out of a group. An important feature of teamwork is therefore the cohesion and sense of “we” between colleagues. While competition is part of professional life, for teamwork to be successful, employees should see themselves as part of the group and act accordingly.
Teamwork can only work with appropriate communication. Everyone must be aware of what the others are working on. Otherwise, important things remain completely undone or results suffer because information has not been passed on.
Everyone pursues their own personal professional goals: More salary, a higher position, or simply job satisfaction. A characteristic of good teamwork is first and foremost common goals, a direction that everyone takes together and a path that everyone is equally committed to and interested in.
Everyone has stress at times. There is little time left to take care of others. But this is also an important aspect of teamwork: not closing your eyes to the problems of others, but jumping in when a colleague needs help. Even if your own schedule is already full.
Prerequisites for successful teamwork
The role of the leader
The role of the manager is very formative for the work in the team, for the work of the team and for the team culture. What counts less and less is function and status, but more and more the personality with its soft skills, i.e. leadership with respect and trust. Leadership starts with self-leadership and therefore it is first necessary to be aware of one’s own values and ideas as a prerequisite for a successful teambuilding process. The team senses the authenticity of a leader. Therefore, it is valuable to take the time for your own reflection and self-image.
Change of perspective
In the team development process, it is important to include different perspectives, the relationship-oriented, the task-oriented and the structure-oriented. Through this change of perspective, it becomes clear where and on which topics the team needs support in order to be able to work actively and goal-oriented – and to enjoy the tasks.
Corporate culture & team culture
The HOW of cooperation is a question of culture.
A clearly communicated and appreciative corporate culture ensures that employees are committed & passionate and that they enjoy working together in teams. This creates important synergies in the work process through personal exchange and communication.
In order for corporate culture and team culture to play hand in hand, it is advisable to design a work environment in which people can best access their resources. The better the basic psychological needs are taken care of, the more the little power games and hallway conversations will decrease and the resources can be lived.
Curious? Interested in more…? Are you facing a new leadership task or maybe your first leadership task? Are you taking over another team? Are you allowed to accompany a change…? Is a team merger taking place? Would you like to conduct a team workshop?
All these are exciting challenges. We are happy to be at your disposal for a further exchange or initial discussion:
The 11 rules for successful teamwork
What characterizes a successful team?
Winning teamwork can only occur when the entire team is attentive to 11 rules.
Clear & common goal
As a first measure for successful teamwork, a clear and common goal should be defined and set. The goal should be even more a common vision. If all team members have the same dream, which they absolutely want to make come true, they work in one direction and for the same goal. This welds together and strengthens the team. A successful teamwork can emerge.
Good organization is the key to successful teamwork. Each colleague must know the steps to be followed to achieve the common goal. Each member must know which approach is to be followed, how it is to be implemented and, consequently, which measures and methods are to be used.
A perfect organization means to create a project plan in which all intermediate goals and milestones are shown. This way, the team can see at any time what progress has been made and at what point they are. The team maintains an overview and easily masters the path to the common goal with successful teamwork.
Clear distribution of roles and tasks
A clear distribution of roles is essential for successful teamwork. Each team member takes on a specific role and accordingly assumes a limited area of responsibility. Each area of responsibility is occupied by one member. After all, each person has individual skills and competencies. If each colleague works one hundred percent on his or her tasks – not without supporting another colleague at times, of course – the team achieves the jointly targeted goal.
Good leadership is also a prerequisite for any successful teamwork. This is not just a matter of managing the team perfectly, but also of encouraging and coaching the team. However, team leadership should not only focus on the group as a whole, but also on the individual team members. It is important to build on individual strengths and address individual needs.
Successful teamwork only works if all team members communicate openly with each other. The members should be in constant exchange. This means they should share ideas, suggestions and experiences with each other, thus regularly disclosing factual information. Each member should have the same information in order to make optimal progress in his or her area of responsibility. In addition, colleagues can support each other through open communication and solutions can be found together. This ultimately moves the entire team forward.
It goes without saying that – as in any grouping of people – respectful treatment is essential in a work team. Each team member should be valued and treated as a respected person. After all, each member is very important to the entire team. Successful teamwork can only be guaranteed if there is respectful interaction and a pleasant working atmosphere.
Constructive conflict resolution
Conflicts will always arise, even in successful teamwork. This is not a bad thing. However, conflicts should only be resolved constructively. This means that problems should be addressed directly, they should be discussed, and at the same time they should be resolved in the best interest of the team. In doing so, it is important to remain constructive and not to become personal under any circumstances.
For successful teamwork, it is important to constantly develop and achieve a high level of quality. For this, permanent feedback from all sides is extremely important. Each team member must be open to feedback and each member must also be able to give constructive feedback to colleagues. Only by constantly receiving and passing on feedback can progress be made in the team.
Of course, one thing must not be missing for successful teamwork: loyalty. Each team member should bring his or her loyalty to the team. This creates a new awareness that can be lived by everyone. In this way, each colleague brings motivation and commitment to the team. This is extremely conducive to successful teamwork, but must also be constantly cultivated.
Just because you are a member of a team doesn’t mean you can always hand over responsibility. Every colleague needs a certain sense of responsibility and also has to take on a certain responsibility.
This means that if something goes wrong, the person who caused it should own up to it and take responsibility for his or her actions. Under no circumstances should the blame then simply be placed on someone else. By each team member taking responsibility for his or her area of responsibility, each member will give one hundred percent and nothing can stand in the way of successful teamwork.
Last but not least, successes achieved should not simply be swept under the rug, but properly celebrated. Celebrating milestones or intermediate goals achieved is an excellent team-building measure. The team is newly motivated to achieve even greater things together, it grows even closer together and is more likely to survive bad phases. Successful teamwork therefore also depends on celebrating successes together.