Teamwork skills are one of the Holy Grails of talent-hunting.
Who doesn’t want anyone who works well on a team? And, what candidate nowadays doesn’t have “good teamwork skills”?
Teamwork skills are complicated to define, and there needs to be more clarity about them. What exactly are teamwork skills? Aren’t teamwork skills just ordinary individual skills? Can they be improved? We will delve deep into these questions and help you identify and develop good teamwork skills.
What are teamwork skills?
Teamwork skills are the set of abilities that help you work well with other people on a joint project.
However, It is important to emphasize that only some skills developed when pursuing the same goal constitute teamwork skills.
In a Formula 1 race, for instance, the technician team’s role is significantly different from that of the driver, even though they work together toward the same goal: winning the race.
Yes, the driver depends on the technicians to drive a competitive car, but he is not directly working with them. Instead, the driver must master a set of individual skills that will let him compete against the other racers.
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Are teamwork skills important?
Contrary to popular belief, teamwork skills are only sometimes important.
Good teamwork skills are always helpful but not essential for a good job.
Every skill is primarily learned through experience, training, or a combination. Talented individuals will naturally master specific skills quicker, but in any case, every skill needs a crucial ingredient to develop: time.
Let’s continue with our Formula 1 analogy.
While the driver participates in the car’s set-up and needs to give feedback to the technicians, it would be inefficient to use his training time to develop good teamwork skills. The driver must focus on boosting other skills like reflexes, coordination, or adaptability.
On the other hand, every technician must have good teamwork skills to coordinate with their peers to find the best improvements for the car and fix any issue.
Best teamwork skills to master
You can also learn and train teamwork skills as with any other skill.
These are some of the best interpersonal and teamwork skills you can develop:
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that communication skills are key to working well in a team.
Every team member needs information to carry out their tasks appropriately, and any communication gap can lead to bad time management or the project’s failure.
It is crucial for a team to constantly communicate with each other regarding the status of their tasks. Try to regularly update everyone with any news or obstacles that affect the project.
All good communication is only possible when done honestly.
Being transparent will help you work through disagreements, pinpoint mistakes (yours or your teammates’), and build trust.
Honesty will also help you be more open with sharing those opinions or ideas about the project that you may be afraid to share but can be highly beneficial to others.
Assertiveness means being confident in your statements without being aggressive or inciting negative feelings in others.
Being assertive is just as important as developing good communication skills and honesty. In other words, “how you say things” is often in a work environment as important as “what you say.” Lacking assertiveness can lead (even when you are right) to a bad working climate in the long run.
Empathy is the engine of any other teamwork skill.
Honest and assertive communication is useless if you lack empathy since you fail to understand what the team needs at a given time. Being honest and assertive but lacking empathy will also lead to a toxic working environment.
Everyone makes mistakes and will eventually make mistakes (and that goes for you, too!).
When that happens, you have to be able to assimilate bad results and keep working toward the success of the project.
If you are the one at fault, you must be able to pick yourself up, tighten your boots, and keep going!
The ability to think outside the box is one of the most valued assets of any employee.
That’s where creativity is born, and creativity is the key to making a difference in the ever-competitive landscape that is the working world.
Problem solvers can identify new ways to fix problems that no other team member has managed to solve.
Be bold and offer unexpected solutions to complex problems because any idea is better than no idea.
Adequately managing your time may seem, at first, like an excellent individual skill (and it is!). However, this is yet another of the best teamwork skills to master.
Thriving in the workplace is not only about making the most of your talents. It is also about being able to do so in time, and time is always scarce.
When working in a team, everyone is racing against the clock, and if you can finish your tasks in time, it will not only mean that you have managed to do your part but that you can help other team members struggling with theirs.
Are teamwork skills better than individual skills?
Contrary to teamwork skills, individual skills are those abilities that help you perform well autonomously.
Learning collaboration and teamwork skills will help you increase your performance in a team, while individual skills are of good use, whatever the circumstances are.
By the same logic, individual skills should be prioritized. However, the work market is more complicated than that.
Most jobs are carried out within a collaborative environment, where we thrive the most. Having a team of people with good individual skills but bad teamwork skills will, in the long run, produce worse results than having a team with good teamwork skills and bad individual skills.
This is because when we work together, we synergize with each other and contribute our strengths to the project’s success. Furthermore, having good teamwork skills will help you learn faster from your teammates.
Having good teamwork and individual skills is crucial to success at your job, but you should always prioritize those skills that are most beneficial to the overall project.
How can you develop good teamwork skills?
There isn’t an “ABC” to developing teamwork skills. The best teacher you will ever have is experience.
However, you should consider a couple of things if you want to exploit your full cooperative potential.
Managers rely on a balanced team of multiple talents to achieve their goals.
By bringing yourself to a managing position, you will gain perspective in identifying the daily struggles of cooperation and learn to take advantage of your teammate’s strengths to benefit the project.
Even if you are not in a managing position, you can develop interpersonal and teamwork skills by delegating to teammates from other departments that may have more experience with certain aspects of your tasks and help them where you feel stronger.
The goal here is to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and analyze how everyone can best contribute to reaching the company’s goals.
Being proactive is one of the essential qualities for anyone trying to develop good teamwork skills.
We all have been in the typical school project where a few did the work and many others passively watched.
There will always be people contributing more to the project than others, but that doesn’t mean that the others are of no use or should not take part.
Always be mindful of coming up with new ideas and have an active mindset. Even when you feel there isn’t much you can do to strengthen the project, just putting in the effort can inspire everyone else.
The best way to develop collaboration and teamwork skills is to work in a team! Time will do the rest.
If you are wondering how to improve teamwork skills, there is nothing better than pure experience working in a team.
When you work in a team, you expose yourself to everything that entails coordinating with others. You will inevitably make mistakes, and that’s when you learn the most.
The project’s success will also depend on you, so there will be no escape from improving your teamwork skills.
Building good teamwork skills remotely
We have seen a few tricks to develop strong interpersonal and teamwork skills, but how are we supposed to use them if we are miles away from our team?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid and remote working have grown solid and fast. Today, few companies don’t provide any of these options to their employees.
If this is your situation and you regularly work from home, you already know many of the benefits of remote working but probably have also encountered some uncomfortable situations.
Did your connection drop at the worst time? Do you struggle to hear your teammates during online meetings? Perhaps you missed a couple of meetings?
Adapting to working remotely can be challenging if you are not used to it. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you can’t develop good teamwork skills while doing it.
These are a few ways:
Meet regularly and efficiently
We are social animals, and there are hundreds of ways we communicate with each other without even speaking.
Non-verbal communication is often as important as verbal communication. We are constantly communicating and receiving information without realizing it. This is why you may have sometimes felt weird or uncomfortable during online meetings without knowing exactly why.
Online meetings can be less dynamic than face-to-face meetings, so it is crucial to do them regularly.
However, it is also important not to meet excessively, as this can interfere with your other duties and hinder your concentration.
Online meetings should be as short as possible and straight to the point. Always communicate with the utmost clarity and address all relevant topics to make your meetings efficient.
Use the best software
When we spend most of our time in the office, we want a comfortable workspace with spaces, furniture, and utilities that make our job the easiest way possible.
When working remotely, the laptop is our office, and we likewise want it to be a comfy place to work.
Learn how to make the most of commonly used software like Google Suit, Slack, Trello, etc., until they become second nature to you.
Remote working is, at the end of the day, about bringing comfort and reaching a better work-life balance.
At Smowltech, we also work daily to provide you with information and tools to help you make remote work the better option. Have a look at our SMOWL products to see exactly how, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information on our products and mission.
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