10 Powerful Tips for Successful Teamwork

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employees often need to work in a team. Most projects involve the coordinated efforts of a variety of professionals. In group engagements, people often come from diverse backgrounds with different work experiences and varying degrees of expertise. To succeed in such a work environment, you should have excellent teamwork skills. In this article, we will provide some useful tips for successful teamwork in professional settings.

What is teamwork and why is it important?

Effective teamwork has the potential to promote a positive environment within the workplace. It allows all involved parties to create professional bonds and understand each other's qualities and skills in greater detail. Teamwork also reduces the individual burden and stress associated with complex tasks. Delegation saves time and optimises the workflow. Healthy discussions and group activities promote creativity within the workplace.

A team working together on a project can use multiple perspectives to analyse problems and draft solutions. A diverse group of individuals can contribute a variety of skills, knowledge and expertise towards common goals and agendas. Under the right leadership and with effective team dynamics, the potential of any group becomes greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Tips for successful teamwork

Successful teamwork can help a company channel the individual efforts of its employees in a common direction. This increases productivity within an organisation and ensures its continued success. Good team dynamics can also reduce work pressure on individuals and make the work more enjoyable for everyone involved. Here are some tips that will help you work successfully with a team of professionals:

1. Maintain a creative work environment

In a creative work environment, people are comfortable taking reasonable risks in communicating, advocating positions and suggesting ideas. To foster creativity in the workplace, you should ensure that all inputs from team members are given due consideration. Unconventional ideas and suggestions must be analysed with an open mind. If a team member brings forward an unconventional suggestion, you should make genuine efforts to understand the motivation and reasoning behind the suggestion.

You should appreciate team members for their participation in discussions and during instances of cooperative disagreement. In a creative work environment, individuals acknowledge the shortcomings and flaws of the team and work towards mitigating the impact of these shortcomings in the final work. This approach aligns individual members towards a common purpose and direction.

2. Maintain clarity of mission and goals

Having a well-defined goal is a prerequisite for any attempt at successful teamwork. All team members should know the exact scope of their duties and responsibilities. The team leader and the team members must be aligned in terms of a unified goal to avoid redundancy of work. For example, if job roles and responsibilities are vague, you may see significant overlaps in the work of different team members.

Create a well-defined purpose by forming a mission statement. The mission statement should decide upon key performance indicators (KPI) and deliverables. Furthermore, clarifying the objective of your project is as important as developing deliverables, goals and a mission statement. This helps your team understand their roles clearly and streamline their operations seamlessly, thereby facilitating long-term motivation.

Related: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions and Examples

3. Ensure respectful communication

Effective communication is the backbone of any successful group activity. Good communication not only creates awareness and understanding among team members but also maintains respect by valuing each opinion of the group fairly. Good communication is honest and open. To set a foundation for open communication, you need to establish specific expectations and define best practices. This includes when and how you should use different methods of communication, such as emails, direct messaging, phone calls and in-person meetings.

You must strive hard to maintain an environment where people feel free to express their thoughts, opinions and potential solutions to problems. People should feel as if they are heard by the team. This enables the creative space to evolve and gives birth to innovative ideas.

Related: How to Succeed in a Group Discussion

4. Celebrate success and learn from failure

You must celebrate successes, regardless of how big or small they are. Likewise, with every failure, you must make efforts to analyse mistakes and deduce learnings from them. Share these lessons with team members to ensure that mistakes do not get repeated in future tasks.

This inspires your team to achieve even greater success and bolsters leadership. For example, acknowledging a team member's success in a specific task gives them a clear idea of how to navigate similar tasks in the future. By handling your team's failures gracefully, you can make yourself more approachable to your team members. This can ensure effective and unhindered communication as the work progresses.

5. Build solid relationships within the team

Powerful interpersonal relationships are key to collective success. You should know the way your team members work and communicate with each other. You should appreciate individual contributions and give useful feedback by noting exceptional work and praising valuable ideas.

Listen to opinions from all members of the team and act as a mediator. With some effort, you can flip difficult situations to provide positive conclusions, thereby empowering teammates to continue the work efficiently. Consider mixing activities that include brainstorming, problem-solving and recreational challenges to improve team morale.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

6. Facilitate coaching for team members

When people work together, conflicts are bound to emerge. All members of a team may not be equally comfortable working in groups. However, a little training can help improve their interpersonal skills. Many a time, companies rely on professionals to coach their staff and prepare them to work together on projects. Such professionals can evaluate team performance objectively and identify the root cause of disruptions that impede work. A coaching program over a few structured sessions can help a company prepare employees for work that lies ahead.

For example, many companies train their employees to help them adapt to technological changes that happen in their respective fields. Employees are also given the training to use tools and resources that are essential for performing specific tasks. Alternatively, team members can disclose their problems in one-on-one sessions with team leaders and describe what their roles and work environment would be in an ideal situation. You can then identify simple changes that you can make in each area to bring your employees back in line with the project's goals and purposes.

7. Take breaks when required

It is a common misconception that team building happens in conference rooms behind closed doors. On the contrary, team building often happens gradually as the work progresses. Taking breaks and socialising with team members can result in much higher levels of productivity and can help re-assess goals if needed.

Gathering in casual settings outside of work can encourage effective communication and bonding between team members.

8. Focus on your employees' strengths

Whether you are a team leader or a team member, it is your responsibility to acknowledge and encourage individual strengths. It is important to understand that every team member is unique with different passions, strengths and weaknesses. You must focus on leveraging the combined skill set of a team to get work done successfully. As long as a team member contributes by bringing a powerful set of skills to the table, you should not dwell upon their weaknesses. You need to allow your team members to use their skills to bring different perspectives for solving complex problems.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

9. Show gratitude

Expression of gratitude is one of the most underrated contributors to effective teamwork. When you are invested in a project with a team, you might miss out on opportunities to express gratitude. However, you can take a few minutes out of your schedule and conduct a gratitude exercise with your team where you can ask people to say one thing they are thankful for, regardless of how small it may be.

Appropriate displays of gratitude can contribute to an increased sense of self-worth among employees and trust within the workplace. However, it is important to ensure that expressions of gratitude are genuine and timely.

10. Continually review your processes

Reviewing your team's performance is an integral part of successful teamwork. You should regularly review your team's progress and provide constructive feedback to team members. Focus your feedback on providing suggestions for improving work processes and team efficiency. Team members should ideally support each other in developing useful strategies for work.

In case of any mishaps, like missed deadlines or deviations from set guidelines, avoid getting too critical and orient your feedback towards a positive change. This ensures that your feedback does not affect team morale negatively.

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