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19 Essential Principles for Effective Teamwork

Humans have always lived in groups. It brings a sense of unity and security, provides better chances of both surviving and thriving, but it mostly brings a sense of belonging. Whether it’s a family, a tribe, or simply a band of friends, we’re always better together.

So, what is teamwork?

Teamwork is a process of bringing individuals together and joining their efforts and talents collaboratively, to achieve a goal or a mission for a cause or an enterprise.

 

Part 1

Creating an Effective Team

 

  1. Whether you are the leader of the team or just a member—help your team define a vision and a purpose of what they do. Corporate workers often lack a sense of purpose because, all too often, they don’t have all the information to allow them to understand how their efforts contribute to the bigger picture and move the world forward. As a result, some may be focused solely on getting the job done and getting their monthly salary. Always give your team members enough information to realize the importance of their contribution.
  2. When forming a new team, it’s important to have a varied set of skills within the team. Identify which skills and expertise you’re looking for. Then ask everyone to state their strengths, what they can do best, and what are the skills they want to master.
  3. Create a habit of regular honest communication between teammates. This way, if your team members have trouble meeting a deadline, they’ll ask for help. If they don’t know how to handle a task, they will ask for advice. Trust and communication bring the teammates together.

Part 2

Maintaining Effective Teamwork

  1. Keeping the team’s motivation high is a big hassle, but it’s not impossible. The best way to maintain a high level of motivation is to enable the team members to align their personal development goals with the company’s growth goals. We all want to believe we can put the team’s interests ahead of our own individual interests, but if team members don’t feel they can grow and thrive within their teams, they will end up leaving for a better environment or simply being unengaged and unproductive.
  2. Share weekly updates. Update each other about general progress, milestones hit, plans for the upcoming week. The updates should be informative and serve as an opportunity to recognize progress and keep everyone in the loop about what has been done, who is doing what, and what needs to be done.

    Hint: we use status.net for weekly updates.
    Check this article about daily and weekly updates to learn more about how to use status updates to improve team collaboration.

  3. Nurture a sense of accountability among team members. When each member is aware of the bigger picture, they know how being accountable for getting their part of the job done allows the group milestone to be achieved.

    Tip: when using Fluxes task management solution to manage group milestones and tasks, this happens automatically, because team members can easily see how each task relates to the milestone and who is accountable.

Part 3

Celebrating Success

  • When your team succeeds, it’s important to celebrate even the little successes. Recognize the efforts made by each member of the team. Make it a regular tradition to celebrate over coffee or a meal whenever a milestone is reached. 
  • When your team fails to reach the objective, still recognize the effort of each member, but have everyone talk about their own mistakes and what they could have done better. Don’t point any fingers or blame others. Involve everyone in planning improvements. This reassures team members that they have each other’s backs, and focuses them on continuous improvements.

 

Part 4

Best Practices

  • Effective leadership:

    Each member should be empowered to be a leader. When you have a team of accountable leaders, teamwork is highly effective.

  • Encourage creativity:

    Value each member’s contribution, leave room for creativity, trying new things and iteration.

  • Reward and recognition:

    Make it a habit to recognize efforts made by the team to build team spirit.

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  • Cross-departmental communication:

    Create a space for teams within each department to meet and share their progress, struggles, challenges and successes. It gives different perspectives and assures everyone that they’re all working toward the same result. Learn more about effective interdepartmental communication in this article.