Team Dynamics

How to Encourage Teamwork Skills for Career Success

By Beth Osborne for RallyBright

March 24, 2020

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Finding success in your career is rarely limited to your abilities and drive. If you look at some of the highest achieving professionals in any industry, you’ll find they are likely great collaborators. Even the most successful entrepreneurs didn’t get there on their own – they needed a team, and teamwork skills of their own.

Working well with others isn’t just something you were taught in kindergarten. It’s a life skill that can carry you much further down your career path than flying solo. Businesses also need to encourage and support teamwork skills in the workplace, ensuring that the organizational culture is inclusive and based on cooperation.

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What Are Teamwork Skills?

Teamwork skills describe the qualities and abilities that allow you to effectively collaborate with others to solve problems, brainstorm creative ideas and execute projects. Being able to possess and hone your teamwork skills requires that you communicate well and actively listen. We start learning how to work as a team as children, both with peers and within our family. Those same attributes that we pick up from childhood are applicable in adulthood.

Why Do Teamwork Skills Matter?

Unless you’re a company of one, you’ll have to work with others at every level of your career. If you choose not to participate in teamwork, you won’t get very far in your professional development. Practicing empathy in the workplace is essential to building your teamwork proficiency. Being in tune with and embracing your place in a team environment allows you to build rapport with others, leading to deeper relationships built on trust.

This doesn’t mean you’ll be free from conflict. But conflict in the workplace isn’t a bad thing, and if you have a good foundation of teamwork aptitude, then these conflicts become constructive in helping your team accomplish its goals.

Teamwork Skills Examples

Many of the basic teamwork skills you need to be successful at work are considered soft skills, which include a variety of attributes related to your ability to interact harmoniously with others. Those that have high functioning teamwork skills often have higher social and emotional intelligence.

Here are some of the practices and attributes you’ll want to hone to be a team player, and that your organization would do well to elevate as part of their culture:

Good communication

Being an effective communicator doesn’t relate to how articulate you are. It has more to do with listening and includes verbal and nonverbal cues. When working in a team environment, being able to share and communicate ideas and information clearly is critical.

Accountability

Teams thrive when everyone does their part. Think back to group projects in school, which you may have dreaded because at least one person didn’t pull their weight. No one wants a repeat of this in the working world. Instead, a team-oriented culture clearly defines roles and responsibilities, so there’s no confusion. Expectations are set for each team member, so if you want to master teamwork, you have to be responsible and accountable.

Integrity

A team will never be fully formed without integrity. You need to be honest with one another, even if it causes conflict. Honesty and transparency make teams stronger, not weaker.

Empathy

Looking at things from another’s perspective and acknowledging their point of view is the way to cultivate empathy in the workplace. When you have compassion for others, it improves communication. Better communication can often spur innovation and greater productivity.

Cooperation

You know what sinks teams quickly? Lack of cooperation. You must take an active role in teamwork; there’s no sitting on the sidelines. With cooperation, you can learn from others and develop stronger strategies that blossom from all the strengths of each member.

Awareness

Being cognizant of team dynamics is essential. You need to pay close attention to this because you can’t have one person dominating the conversation or others too timid to speak. It’s good to find balance, which comes with being aware of how everyone is contributing to the team.

Improving Teamwork Skills: Learn and Grow as a Team

Developing stronger teamwork skills is best when you learn and grow together. It’s a good idea to start with an assessment of team performance and determine the core challenges. Then you create a pathway that improves everyone’s skillsets.

Along with specific training exercises, you can also encourage honest feedback from others, helping you to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Another approach is to be mindful of your interactions. Throughout your day at work, pay close attention to how you collaborate with others and practice the teamwork skills examples noted above.

You’re in This Together

Companies often succeed or fail based on how well their employees work together. When engaging in team projects, keep in mind that you’re all in this together. With this mindset, the scope of what you can achieve expands dramatically.

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