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 independently – they needed a team and teamwork skills.
Working well with others isn’t just something you were taught in kindergarten. It’s a life skill that can carry you 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.
The Importance of Building Communication Skills for Successful Teamwork
In any organization, the various daily tasks completed by employees are connected to developing a united outcome. When a company cultivates a culture of communication and teamwork, processes become more efficient, morale improves, and the organization reaches higher levels of success.
High-quality teamwork generates creativity and innovation through the expression of diverse ideas. It improves productivity and efficiency through cooperation. Perhaps most importantly, it builds a sense of belonging that provides individuals with a clear purpose within the company.
Communication is the exchange of information or ideas with other people. When team members can communicate freely in the workplace, innovation improves, and challenges are easier to overcome.
However, productive communication doesn’t always come easily in diverse groups of individuals. In any relationship, how you deliver a message is an integral part of the way it’s received. Cultivate effective group communication skills to avoid a toxic team environment that leads to conflicts and disengagement.
When employees develop team communication skills, they can build trust among coworkers. With trust comes an understanding that makes it possible to overcome misinterpretations and disagreements.
Inclusivity Is Vital for Belonging
When teams collaborate inclusively, they align on common goals and interpersonal norms that will ensure success for both individuals and the group. Inclusive collaboration is a working style in which every team member feels comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions without judgment or consequences.
Such an environment forms a psychologically safe space that allows individuals from all races, demographics, ages, genders, physical abilities, and backgrounds to communicate respectfully. As a result, every member of your team can contribute in an authentic way that builds creativity and innovation.
Research shows that employees seek diverse and inclusive workplaces with a caring culture. In fact, 76% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is essential, and 80% of workers want inclusive companies.
Yet, such a culture isn’t born naturally from hiring decisions and employee roles. When a company can utilize internal data to measure certain elements in the workplace, teams can work toward the dimensions that form inclusion and collaboration.
Our research shows that inclusive collaboration is developed with behaviors spanning six distinct dimensions that create an environment that sets the stage for high-performance teamwork. .
- Alignment: Shared purpose and group commitment
- Cooperation: Role clarity, communication, and knowledge sharing
- Compassion: Support and empathy
- Fairness: Objectivity and embracing diversity
- Psychological Safety: Authenticity, speaking up, and embracing failure
- Belonging: Contribution and connection
When team leaders have a firm understanding of the current climate for collaboration at their organization and how included team members feel, they can set goals to improve inclusive collaboration and team success.
Leadership Involvement for Building Strong Teams
Successful team communication and collaboration isn’t something that occurs on its own solely by gathering groups of employees together to form a team. When team leaders take the initiative to develop a top-down approach to effective communication and collaboration, they’re more likely to improve team dynamics to establish team success.
Team building is an ongoing process in the workplace. Everything from simple daily interactions to team-specific activities or working together to complete complex projects contributes to building a solid team. When team members are encouraged to foster open communication during all interactions, they learn to work more efficiently together.
Team leaders can enhance this process by providing guidance and setting examples of inclusive collaboration. There are many ways leaders can create engaging team-building environments, including the following.
Create Team Projects
Team projects encouraging employees to collaborate toward a shared goal can create a common bond to open communication channels. By grouping employees into teams to complete tasks, you can allow employees to recognize their strengths and weaknesses as well as the strengths of their colleagues. In this new, team members can see each other in a new light and improve workplace relationships.
When team leaders create projects with strategic goals, encourage all team members to participate, and continually display examples of effective communication, this inspires team members to work harmoniously together. As a result, team members will learn to build relationships and communicate more effectively.
Feeling disrespected is among the top three reasons employees leave their jobs. Yet, showing gratitude in the workplace is a form of communication that’s often overlooked.
Employees are an organization’s greatest asset. Sharing why you’re grateful for their efforts and achievements can help employees find purpose in their role within the company.
Team leaders should seek various ways to show their gratitude authentically. Methods can range from verbal or written praise to compensation-based rewards.
Peer-to-peer gratitude is also an important motivator to team success. Encourage employees to show gratitude for the efforts of fellow team members, and ask for help when they’re struggling.
Accountability and purpose are essential elements of successful team projects. No one wants to feel as though they’re saddled with busy work while others are contributing to meaningful tasks.
Furthermore, you set the stage for accountability when clear roles are defined. Team projects are successful because they highlight each employee’s strengths to help the team overcome potential weaknesses.
Highly effective leaders develop relationships with team members and become aware of strengths and weaknesses. When using this knowledge for task delegation, teams perform more efficiently.
Seek Volunteers for Project Leadership
When employees are highly engaged, performance improves. Diverse teams have a wide range of interests that ignite passions for certain projects.
By seeking volunteers for project leadership, you can select team leaders whose excitement for the project will inspire others to participate and excel. Asking for volunteers and encouraging all members to take a leadership role from time to time can also help introverted employees gain more confidence.
Set Clear Expectations
As a team leader, you must create a formal project plan and establish responsibilities. Organizing a project should begin with a clear goal and the requirements to reach that goal.
As soon as the requirements are defined, you can clearly understand the most effective methods of task delegation. This structured plan creates a framework to help each team member understand their exact role in project completion.
Clear expectations evenly distribute the workload, encourage everyone to participate, and provide a sense of purpose. As a result, fewer misunderstandings and conflicts arise, and deadlines are more likely to be met.
Understanding Individual Personalities
Diverse teams are made up of individuals with different personalities and communication styles. Understanding how employees with specific workplace personalities prefer to communicate allows team members to display empathy and collaborate more effectively.
Strong leaders establish authentic relationships with employees that help them understand the various personalities in the workplace and how to communicate effectively with each individual. By learning more about common workplace personality types, you can learn specific communication methods to encourage each team member to contribute confidently.
Defined as emotional intelligence (EQ), this requires you to recognize the emotions of others by listening to the content of what they say and recognizing how nonverbal and contextual signals contribute to the conversation. Displaying these communication styles and extending this knowledge to your team can help coworkers develop better communication channels, solve problems through productive conflict, and improve inclusivity within the group.
How to Work With a Highly-Functioning Introvert
To work effectively with an introvert, it’s important to understand the personality type. Introverts are not necessarily shy or withdrawn. They are individuals who typically perform best when placed in an environment that isn’t overstimulating.
Misconceptions about introverts suggest they are aloof, arrogant, or disinterested. The truth is introverts gain happiness from socializing and rarely find social interactions difficult. They simply need balance to recharge and perform at their best levels.
To work with an introvert, it’s essential to understand what communications are most important and meaningful to them. Even in a team environment, consider how personal space can exist to give introverts time to center and prepare for the social aspects of teamwork. Become an ally to highly functioning introverts in group settings by eliminating interruptions and seeking low-key ways to encourage their input.
Avoid harsh criticism when providing feedback in favor of delivering information thoughtfully in a private environment. Since introverts tend to analyze their interactions extensively, they will likely make the most progress with this feedback form.
While introverts prefer staying out of the spotlight, they can make great leaders. When leaders provide introverts with leadership opportunities for certain projects, they can highlight the effectiveness of these conscientious employees without bringing them extra attention.
Similarly, the style in which you reward introverts should reflect an understanding of their aversion to public attention. Often, a personal and thoughtful email will mean more than a public showing of appreciation.
How to Work With an Impatient Personality
Employees with impatient personalities can be seen as abrasive and over-confident. However, these team members are typically goal-oriented and strategic individuals who respond well to fast-paced, task-based requirements. Impatient personality types are ready to get things done.
As a result, they often drive teams forward, advance new ideas, and look for ways to implement plans quickly. They also perform well under pressure and often complete projects before their deadline.
When working with an impatient personality, it’s vital to consider that waiting creates frustration and irritation for them. By learning to help impatient team members channel their energy, you’ll provide them with continual purpose and drive.
Task these team members with pushing priorities. Create short-term and long-term goals to help satisfy the need for speed. Develop realistic timelines so deadlines are less likely to be missed or changed.
When providing feedback to impatient employees, help them consider the why behind waiting for specific permissions and project advancements. Provide a clear view of the big picture and share how impacting others with their speed-driven nature can ultimately slow progress.
When delegating tasks to impatient personalities, consider their preferred work style and avoid assigning duties that will require multiple interruptions. Be aware of potential productivity blockers and check in occasionally to help eliminate stumbling blocks that decrease motivation. When rewarding impatient personalities, consider the value of showing their progress with metrics and noting when they make an effort to be patient for the sake of others.
Working With Anxious Team Members
Anxious personalities can be displayed in a wide variety of workplace behaviors. These team members may appear to procrastinate, micromanage, and slow projects to a crawl. They can also be staunch perfectionists and submissive people pleasers.
Anxious team members like to avoid mistakes and disapproval. As a result, these team members can be easily stressed. Yet, the careful decisiveness of anxious team members can work to neutralize the pressure introduced by their impatient counterparts.
When working with anxious team members, remember their strengths. Perfectionism and procrastination mean that these employees always ensure a job is done right before reaching the finish line.
Task these team members with the responsibility of overseeing compliance. Encourage them to delegate tasks by imparting knowledge about the strengths of other team members.
Keep in mind that anxious team members are their own harshest critics. Avoid harsh criticism like the plague, and offer feedback in the form of suggestions.
Avoid placing them under significant pressure when considering anxious team members for leadership tasks. Create well-defined deadlines, and highlight the importance of task delegation. Showing gratitude and appreciation for anxious team members effectively encourages branching out and testing new talents.
Working With Ambitious Team Members
Ambition is considered one of the most effective business skills. Ambitious professionals tend to work toward leadership roles, are eager to try new things, and are prepared to dominate every new project. However, an overly ambitious team member can dominate their colleagues in a way that stifles creativity and decreases team engagement.
When working with ambitious team members, consider how their enthusiasm can be used effectively to inspire other team members. Delegate tasks for these team members that provide a challenge while providing choices that allow them to maintain a sense of control.
When placing ambitious team members in leadership positions, highlight the importance of empathy and patience. Utilize their problem-solving nature to avoid over-assertiveness and potential conflicts. When providing feedback, focus on how improved behaviors will help them reach their personal career goals and advance leadership skills.
Ambitious team members thrive on efficiency and accomplishments. When showing gratitude, consider how written praise, advancement opportunities, or performance evaluations will work toward their career goals. Remember to highlight areas where they step outside their comfort zone and trade assertiveness for empathy or understanding of other team members.
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. Possessing and honing your teamwork skills requires you to communicate well and actively listen.
We start learning to work as a team as children 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 destructive; if you have a good foundation of teamwork aptitude, these conflicts become constructive in helping your team achieve its goals.
Teamwork Skills Examples
Many of the basic teamwork skills you need to be successful at work are considered soft skills, which include various attributes related to your ability to interact harmoniously with others. Those with high-functioning teamwork skills often have higher social and emotional intelligence.
Here are some practices and attributes you’ll want to hone to be a team player that your organization would do well to elevate as part of its culture.
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, sharing and communicating ideas and information clearly is critical.
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.
A team will never be fully formed without integrity. You need to be honest, even if it causes conflict. Honesty and transparency make teams stronger, not weaker.
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.
Do 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 each member’s strengths.
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 contributes 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 skill sets.
Along with specific training exercises, you can also encourage honest feedback from others, helping you 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.
Effective Teamwork Leads to Ongoing Success
Communication and teamwork lead to collaboration and innovation. Companies often succeed or fail based on how well their employees work together. Diverse teams succeed due to their varied viewpoints and different personalities.
Teams can collaborate more effectively by learning communication skills that enhance each workplace personality’s strong points. Remember that you’re all in this together when engaging in team projects. With this mindset, the scope of what you can achieve expands dramatically.
Build better teamwork skills and improve your team’s performance and upward mobility. Learn how RallyBright can help. Book a demo today.