Webster’s dictionary defines teamwork as: work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.
The first place where we usually learn teamwork is when playing sports or games as children. It doesn’t usually take long before most children realize that in a team sport, those who seek their own glory, fame and self-interests are more of a hindrance than a help. As children grow into adulthood and enter the business world these early lessons are reinforced continually, for in business, the team that backstabs, climbs over companions, and is filled with self-interested individuals is a team that is dragging its company down.
There are very few businesses that encourage dog-eat-dog tactics among its employees. That kind of toxic environment is best reserved for companies whose ethical concerns are minimal and whose clientele and stakeholders are absolutely concerned with profit over every other consideration.
“Synergy” is a term that came into great focus and popularity in business in the 90s. In business, it describes the complex interaction between multiple individuals and processes that produce a whole greater than the sum of its parts. In other words: a team working together on a project creates something far better and more valuable than each of the individuals working alone could have created.
Businesses invest many millions of dollars in training and development in order to encourage synergy among their employees. A fluid, well-functioning team is of inestimable value for creating exquisite work, craftsmanship and products as the ideas and creativity of some are enhanced and improved by the ideas and creativity of others.
The teamwork core value is exemplified in employees who not only give their all to a project, but remain focused on the success of that project in a way that will maximize the company rather than themselves.
Not everyone is naturally-suited to working in a team, however. Some employees tend to have a “do it yourself” attitude that defies the team framework. Rather than seeing the benefit of drawing on the expertise and skills of others, there are some who believe, either nefariously or by genuine understanding, that the only way to get something done right is to do it themselves.
There are methods available for training, teaching and inspiring productive teamwork among employees, however. Online trainer Udemy recommends:
- Setting clearly-defined goals for everyone
Because one of the largest barriers to success is when everyone is going their own way toward their own goal and not certain of the greater plan.
- Avoid micromanaging employees
A manager that micromanages is actually the opposite of team-work. Telling the employees how you want every little thing does is creating your work, not the team’s work.
- Have meetings often
If not meetings, at least require regular updates and communication regarding the status of the work being done. This is how mistakes are caught when they are small and the finished work is almost as close to the ideal set by management as possible.
- Give positive feedback
When team-members do something right – let them know so that they will repeat that behavior and attitude in the future. Another great frustration for employees is not knowing where the sit or how well (or poorly) their work is being received by management.
Added to team members who exhibit great integrity, teamwork is a strong core value that enhances overall business performance and success. The next focus in the Core Values series is on Dependability.