Teamwork is a commonly used word that is thrown around in personal and professional settings daily, but what does it actually represent? There is a high chance you are either part of a team currently or have been a team member at some point in the past. Does being in a team automatically mean there is teamwork happening?
Teamwork can be defined in many different ways, but probably the most effective states that teamwork is a united sense of drive among close associates towards completing goals and meeting responsibilities. Not every team has teamwork as there are many teams where people are not enthusiastic to work, do not work well together, and cannot agree on nor accomplish the goals set.
Now that we know what teamwork refers to, the next question to ask is how can teamwork be created and encouraged? One of the largest influences on teamwork in the corporate and personal world is leadership.
How Leadership Relates To Teamwork
Leadership is essential to making teamwork into a reality. Negative leadership traits can ruin a team and destroy all sense of teamwork they possess. Adversely, positive leadership traits can encourage teams to work together seamlessly and achieve greater goals. In the professional setting it is team leaders, managers, business owners, executives, and other leaders who are responsible for the teamwork environment in their place of work.
Because of the amount of influence a leader can have over their employee teams, it is their responsibility to do whatever is reasonable to create and promote teamwork. There are many ways that a leader can do this simply by molding their leadership strategies to fit the needs of the teams.
What Great Leaders Do
Effective Leadership Strategies To Promote Teamwork:
These are a few of the elements of leadership strategy that can most highly affect teamwork.
- Decision Making
A change in how decisions are made for a team can be useful in making the team work together better. In certain scenarios, leaders must make quick and decisive choices or else they risk grave consequences to the business. Otherwise, democratic decisions that include all team members or else team representatives can foster a sense of belonging and ownership amongst the team members. If they know their opinions and input are valued when decisions are being made, they will have a greater sense of responsibility for the ongoing team projects. This sense of responsibility to the goals of the team and to the other individual members is a necessary ingredient in teamwork.
Team members should be receiving accurate, well thought-out feedback from their managers on a regular basis. Setting a level of accountability helps team members to know that the team is serious about operating effectively. It also lets each department or individual know what areas they can improve in order to benefit the company and the team. Without this knowledge it becomes difficult for team members to know if they are helping or hurting the team. It also helps to set a level of trust that everyone is doing their part.
- Vision Focused Mindset
In order to produce the strongest results, teams should be oriented around the vision. This focus must come from the leader. As a leader, it’s important to bring up the vision in every discussion or meeting. How will our end goal be affected by this decision? Are these new changes beneficial to the vision?
Simple questions like these help the whole team to align themselves into the same mindset of placing customer needs above all else. Once mindsets become aligned, a sense of teamwork can easily develop as each member of the team is concentrating on meeting the same end needs: customer satisfaction.
- Recognition of Team Members
Praising general team successes and individual successes can promote a greater unity among team members. If members do not get any recognition when they put forth greater efforts, they can become discouraged and disenfranchised from the rest of the team. Leaders should be giving appropriate and deserved recognition to their team members. Remember that their success is your success as a leader!
Benefits Of Great Leadership
Here are some of the benefits that can happen when great leadership is present:
- Increased Citizenship Behaviors
Citizenship behaviors are defined as those non-mandatory behaviors that are done for the sake of helping someone out. Where there is good teamwork, employees have a tendency to assist one another more often with difficult or tiresome tasks. This makes every team member feel more valued and increases their sense of belonging in the team. It can also reduce overall stress levels for those within the team.
- Higher Productivity Levels
Teamwork always leads to greater productivity. When all or most of the members are dedicated to reaching goals and accomplishing the team vision, they can more easily combine their strengths to overcome weaknesses and work more effectively and efficiently together.
- Better Inter-departmental Communication
While some teams are made within only a certain department, many professional teams feature members from separate departments that have different functions within the company. When these people can learn to communicate properly they can all share their needs, perspectives, and ideas in order to come up with a better plan on how to organize team efforts to suit all departments.
- Increased Job Satisfaction
Many studies have shown that employees who are part of well functioning teams are much happier with their work lives. They can feel less drained after a day of work and gain a deep sense of satisfaction from what they are doing with the teams.
Leadership is a necessary element to promoting teamwork in an organisation. When leaders are great, there is a lot of positive teamwork and many benefits. However, when leaders are poor there can be negative consequences that are completely opposite to the benefits of teamwork.
In business, leaders have the responsibility to do what they reasonably can to promote a good team environment. Practicing team-oriented leadership strategies can do a lot to usher in a sense of teamwork among professional team members. It is up to the leaders to make sure teams are functioning to their highest capacity. Although it sounds like a large responsibility, the benefits of promoting teamwork are incredible!