Teamwork is an essential part of every work environment, and is only becoming more important as organizations move away from top-down hierarchy to flatter, more project-oriented structures. Working in groups can increase productivity, foster a cohesive work environment, and create a positive workplace culture.
Perhaps one of the best results of building a cohesive team is the positive effect it can have on employee engagement. Below are four keys ways teamwork can increase engagement among team members:
Teammates Learn From Each Other
Like any good sports team, a successful workplace team will feature several people with different specialties, strengths, and weaknesses. Employees on diverse teams can learn from and support each other. For example, creative people are needed to think of innovative solutions to problems, while more operational-minded employees will provide a needed reality check on the challenges that might be faced during implementation. The two factions can work together to overcome those possible challenges and design the best solution. All of the employees on the team will be engaged as they broaden their own skill sets and also see how their contributions are valued by others.
Teamwork Creates Friendly Competition
While any good sports team is focused on coming together to beat the other team on game day, during practice, players need their own teammates to drive them to be at their best. As a manager, you never want to create an environment in which individual accomplishment trumps the achievements of the team and the company at large. However, there is nothing wrong with challenging team members to hit goals as individuals and recognizing those strides publicly to encourage others to rise to the occasion.
When you win as a team, you should celebrate as a unit and highlight how each member contributed. By the same token, if there is a loss, the team should come together to learn from that experience and re-focus efforts. When something goes wrong, ask the team to solve the problem rather than looking to blame an individual. Creating an atmosphere of blame will lead to political behavior and stifle true innovation.
Teamwork Increases Accountability and Personal Responsibility
Most people hate the feeling of letting others down. When team members know others are counting on them, they will push harder to make sure they hold up their end of the bargain to keep the team moving forward. Team members are more likely to help others along or push them when necessary to ensure the whole team is successful. It’s also much more fun to celebrate when you’ve accomplished something together.
Teamwork Fosters a Sense of Belonging
While working alone can seem simpler and easier at times, it can also be lonely. As a manager, you should be aware when someone is isolated due to the nature of their responsibilities, the layout of the office, or even working remotely, and try to better integrate them into the team. When there is no one else to bounce ideas off of or comment on a job well done, work can become demotivating and stagnant.
At minimum, try to have weekly status meetings that involve the whole team and allow everyone to talk about what they’re working on and ask for feedback. Use technology tools to facilitate communication among teams that are spread out, and encourage regular recognition to strengthen ties between employees.