Teamwork is becoming more commonly used and widely accepted as way to increase productivity in the workplace. According to the "Twenty-First Century Workplace Trends Study," by Joseph Boyett and David Snyder, "We are seeing rapid growth in the use of cross-functional, multidisciplinary teams" in the workplace. For example, they say "one-third of American companies with 50 or more employees have more than half of their employees working in self-managed or problem-solving teams." Displaying teamwork skills is crucial for individuals searching for employment.
Teamwork is important and necessary when the following two cases are present: The product can be produced better and more efficiently with teamwork or the product being sold is extremely complex and requires the diversity of skills and abilities a team provides.
The most important teamwork skill is the ability to communicate effectively. This includes speaking knowledgeably, tactfully and candidly as well as listening actively with an open mind. Other teamwork skills or traits that correlate with group achievement include commitment to the team, making decisions with objectivity and discipline, thinking intelligently and rigorously, ability to support other team members' ideas, being humble and grounded and, most important, being unafraid to get involved.
Being an effective team member starts and ends with communicating. It is crucial to be able to communicate openly and honestly about ideas, recommendations and concerns with other team members. It is just as important to be able to listen attentively and respond objectively with helpful feedback.
Another essential teamwork skill is the ability and desire to commit to a shared team goal. All other teamwork skills are useless without a commitment to the teamwork. With this commitment to the team, members should be willing to take on any role necessary to accomplish the required tasks, whether it is a leadership role or a subordinate role. Further, an effective teamwork skill is the ability to avoid hidden agendas at team meetings; this skill is apparent more often when members are committed and comfortable within the dynamics of the group.
The teamwork skill of effective, responsible decision-making is crucial because most group conflict arises during the decision-making process. Effective teams have members who can make decisions objectively after careful deliberation and debate. The major drawback of teamwork is the prevalence of the theory of diffusion of responsibility. Diffusion of responsibility is when a group makes a poor decision that most, if not all, the members wouldn’t have made on their own; being able to think intelligently and rigorously through the situation before making an informed, objective decision is crucial to being a good group member.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images