We’ve all been part of the group projects at school where we have that one ‘leader’ who decides whose ideas are interesting and dismisses the others as unamusing. In addition to our leader, we had the lazy one who did nothing but took credit for the hard work of others.
Based on those past experiences, it’s no wonder why most of us dread the idea of working together with others.
And yet, something incredible happens when people come together to create something new. Look at Wikipedia, for example. We open the website on a daily basis without thinking about the people behind it. It is actually a joint effort of volunteers who input their knowledge onto the website and create an accessible online encyclopedia – an anonymous team.
And how about one of the most influential bands in the world – The Beatles? Their ability to work together as a team propelled them into worldwide stardom. They respected each other’s individuality and weren’t afraid to share the responsibilities.
If everyone is equally invested in the overall goal, we will work faster and innovate better. Ultimately, we’ll be able to reach a point where each person on our team has our back.
As Michael Jordan once said: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
Benefits of effective teamwork
Effective teams perform at a high rate and create excellent results. This sounds good enough, except that it is easier said than done. If you want to have an effective team, each member has to put their ego aside, to communicate effectively, to try to resolve conflicts, and find common ground. Once this is achieved, the benefits are endless.
Working with different individuals helps you build on their talents. Perhaps you are good with the creative part of your work, while your coworker is great with planning. Joining your abilities and sharing your methods among the team members will help you learn to combine your techniques and become a great team.
Helps with burnout
Sharing the load with your teammates eases burnout. They can provide you with the emotional support you need since they are the ones who understand the stress of completing your tasks and work.
Teaches conflict resolution
When you put unique people in the same team, conflicts are inevitable. While different backgrounds and viewpoints can create successful teamwork, they can also cause disagreements. However, once these disagreements arise, the co-workers are bound to resolve them among themselves.
When your teammates have your back, you can take more risks and try on new things. Having a support system gives you the freedom to think outside of the box, and makes you feel safe in case of failure.
Working together with others takes away the stress of one person having to complete tasks on their own. Additionally, if you like your team, they will inspire you to work harder and achieve more, and most importantly – to have fun together. With that, you’ll feel less stressed.
Characteristics of great teamwork
We know we can recognize a great team the moment we encounter one. There is something about them that stands out. They have that certain radiant energy we can’t get enough of. Here I’ve listed the most important traits they possess.
I’d like to start with communication.
The members of a dream team would never assume that everyone has the same type of information, so a constant update about the latest developments is a must. Also, they should be great listeners and offer encouragement to get the best out of every team member. This shows the respect they have towards their teammates and their openness to new ideas.
Respect is given to receive it from others. This makes everyone feel like their contribution is valued which yields productivity and results.
Respect leads to different opinions which members of great teams encourage. To agree on a common goal should be paramount, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of suppressing different opinions. The support of divergent opinions enhances performance and stirs new ideas and imagination, which leads to creativity.
The support forms a bond that is invaluable for everyone in the team and helps in the process of professional development. The support network can take the form of help and assistance, or praise or advocacy.
A dream team has a trust system. If they don’t believe in the process, they will not find success. The only way to build that trust is to have the liberty to present personal views and opinions. This is one of the reasons why great teams often undertake team-building activities – to put themselves in a position of trust.
And finally, they are happy at work. Well, no surprise there. Higher morale and effective collaboration go together like peas and carrots. In fact, most people stay at a company for a longer period of time if they’ve developed a sense of community and belonging.
Tips for putting together a dream team
How is the above-mentioned achieved?
Building a dream team can be tricky especially when we have different personalities within that team. Perhaps Mike wants to be quiet and work with his headphones all day without interruptions, but Mary is chatty and is in constant motion. So even if they are in the same team, their responsibilities and skills are vastly different. The idea is to make the work styles complement each other so that productivity soars.
Let’s look at some strategies and create that dream team.
Define responsibilities, duties, and tasks
If you’ve ever seen Stranger Things, you’d see that everyone has a unique role that makes the team complete. When the responsibilities are delegated, the team members feel comfortable with their workload. Each member’s responsibilities should be attuned so that the team can function well. Also, when the goals of the team’s tasks are defined, it is easier to take on the tasks at hand. If you want to set goals, try the SMART framework. If your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive, you can easily achieve your objectives.
Adopt a team communication app
Having the right tools would help your team get more done. A platform such as Chanty could make communication easier than ever and help you reduce distracting and unnecessary emails. Everything would be easily accessible and centralized. With this process, projects move faster and team members feel happier.
Select a team leader
For a well-balanced team, we need the right leader. And when I say “right” I don’t mean great. The thing is, the right leader should match the personalities of the individuals. If they don’t, there might be problems. For example, it’s not a good idea to have a laid-back type of leader with a team that needs a bit more guidance. Conversely, a micromanager is not the smartest choice for a team that includes individuals who want to work autonomously.
Have a better onboarding system
The way we onboard new hires will ultimately set the tone for how they will fit in the team. Personal onboarding experience could produce returns regarding employee engagement. Failing to have a good onboarding process would make the new hires feel disengaged and disinterested.
Have a buddy system
Once there is a new member in the team, they should be paired with someone else who’s been around. The buddy could show them the work, but also help them get to know everyone in the office and have lunch or coffee breaks together.
Have a daily stand-up meeting
These meetings don’t have to be a drag. They can be a quick and time-efficient affair that would help everyone be on track. It would help everyone be more productive and the team members could easily solve problems. Setting aside a few minutes each day will create a routine that builds camaraderie.
Encourage openness and transparency
Nobody should be afraid to speak up. The old saying “loose lips sink ships’’ should not be valid in today’s corporate world. When team members are transparent, it will increase everyone’s engagement and create a stronger company culture. This type of work environment helps team members feel more valued.
Get to know each other outside the office
After-hours parties? Happy hours? Office parties? So many hours and so many parties to choose from. Even virtual activities in the team chats are a good way to bond with teammates.
This would also include team-building activities. They are a great way to build personal relationships because they are based on trust as I mentioned earlier. A simple outdoor excursion or escape room would do the trick. These events help foster a sense of friendship among the team members.
Great teams aren’t about having some of the smartest people in the room. A team is about having a cohesive unit. A lot of that is based on psychology and it is related to how people have different approaches to work. Dream teams are built on personality, role design, fairness, and patience. And once we have a truly engaged team and members who are brought together to share common goals, there is no limit to what they can do.