“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision: the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” — Andrew Carnegie
Savvy leaders understand that our organizations achieve better results when we work together in a collaborative manner. The power of teams can be awesome. Sometimes we may not achieve optimal outcomes under every condition or in every situation. But more often, we truly work best when we work as a team. The more ways organizations can enable and encourage effective teamwork, the better outcomes they will achieve.
Some of the benefits of teamwork include:
- Spending time with our colleagues. This provides us the opportunity to co-create or build something better together.
- Opportunities to communicate and engage with one another.
- Ability to debate issues, problems and solutions together as a group.
- Fostering learning.
- Building trust among co-workers.
- Promoting feelings of shared ownership and responsibility.
- Gaining more perspectives on outstanding issues and potential solutions.
- Personal and professional growth among individual team members and the team itself.
- Sharing workload, which reduces stress, burnout, and employee turnover.
- More balanced risk-taking.
- More open, collaborative communication, which boosts creativity.
- Developing support networks among co-workers.
- Deepening employee engagement.
For a startup organization, teamwork plays a major role in shaping the culture. Startups often do well: not all of them succeed, but they tend to be a fun and engaging places for people to be. They are small and nimble. Employees willingly spend many hours working towards the startup’s goals because they want to help it grow and succeed. When you see this level of team engagement in a business, you can tell it will become successful as it begins to grow.
Many startups are cool, dynamic places to be. That does not mean everyone agrees on everything, or even necessarily that they always get along. It also does not mean that everybody is completely and always on the same page regarding different issues. However, they work together in a collaborative manner, which creates the camaraderie needed to create and pursue a shared vision. As a result, startups often provide an exciting environment in which to work.
Larger organizations also have the ability to create similar conditions to bring the advantages of a start-up to their workplaces. They can:
- Create conditions where people can spend time together.
- Provide access and work space for team members and for multiple teams to intermix.
- Set aside time for people to work together and create something meaningful that gives the team a unified purpose.
- Allow opportunities for members to honestly debate differences and discuss solutions.
- Allocate time for less serious interaction. The old saying, “The family that plays together stays together,” also applies to teams that spend time casually, building closer bonds as they work on important endeavors.
The reality today is that most of us are no longer interacting face-to-face, but rather connecting in a virtual world. Any technology that helps facilitate a solid team dynamic is a good thing.
Since the pandemic, we’ve seen many teams that were previously located in the same office working together in new ways by using technology. Despite interacting virtually, they still find very effective ways to get their work done, and to find meaning as a group or as a team. This suggests that, as we look to the future and a return to the workplace, we should not limit our thinking about how we can facilitate teamwork within or across organizations. Using virtual collaboration platforms can help enhance the power of a team.
“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” — Vince Lombardi