How to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace


Tips to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace
Workplace groups should take as much time as they need to mesh, but effective teams put clear leaders in place to stamp out conflict.
Workplace groups should take as much time as they need to mesh, but effective teams put clear leaders in place to stamp out conflict.

Once you have your team in place, here are a few general tips to make sure the collaborative process runs smoothly:

  • Don't let individuals get lost in the shuffle. Even though a team is a collaborative effort, each member should be allowed to feel a sense of ownership and accomplishment. Members should be rewarded for a job well done, and given encouragement and guidance when they need additional help completing a task.
  • Let each team member actively take part in the decision-making process. Making each member feel integral to the group's success is crucial for the team's morale. Minimize the importance of rank; instead take advantage of the entire group's talents and skills to contribute to its overall success. However, there must be one clear leader who can make the final decision if the team can't agree.
  • Keep the balance of work equal. One or two team members shouldn't be shouldering the burden for the entire group. Everyone should have a manageable and relatively equal workload.
  • Build a foundation of trust and mutual respect. Each team member should be encouraged to share his or her opinions openly and respect everyone else's point of view -- even if they don't agree with it.
  • Maintain open lines of communication. Everyone in the team should share ideas or express concerns with one another and with the company's management.
  • When conflicts arise, take a positive approach. Avoid confrontation and blame. Keep your focus on the issues.

For more information on workplace topics, please see the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

Sources

  • Cohen, Susan G. and Bailey, Diane E. "What Makes Teams Work: Group Effectiveness Research from the Shop Floor to the Executive Suite." Journal of Management, 1997, Vol. 23, pg. 239-290. http://www.stanford.edu/group/wto/cgi-bin/docs/Cohen_Bailey_97.pdf.
  • Gibbons, Tracy and Randi Brenowitz. "Workforce Collaboration." Innovative Leader. November 2002. Volume 11.http://www.winstonbrill.com/bril001/html/article_index/articles/551-600/article565_body.html.
  • Gschwandtner, Gerhard. Great Thoughts to Sell By: Quotes to Motivate You to Success. McGraw-Hill: 2007. New York, NY.
  • NDT Resource Center. "Teamwork in the Classroom."http://www.ndt-ed.org/TeachingResources/ClassroomTps/Teamwork.htm.
  • Okafor, Philip. "Workplace conflicts can be inimical to teamwork, insist experts." May 18, 2010.http://www.businessdayonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11125:workplace-conflicts-can-be-inimical-to-teamwork-insist-experts-&catid=89:learning&Itemid=347.
  • Osborn, T. Noel. "Improving Teamwork -- Working Against the Odds." (Aug. 5, 2010)http://www.teaminternational.net/Resources/Docs/Improving%20Teamwork.pdf.
  • Prasad, Sameer. "Team Self-Management, Organizational Structure, and Judgments of Team Effectiveness." July 1, 2004.http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/971289-1.html.
  • The Team Building Directory. "Resolving Conflict in Work Teams." (Aug. 5, 2010)http://www.innovativeteambuilding.co.uk/pages/articles/conflicts.htm.
  • Santana, Joe. "Creating supportive, engaging work environment helps fight employee burnout." TechRepublic. July 14, 2003. (Aug. 3, 2010)http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5035231.html.
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business. "Teamwork Can Boost Manufacturing Productivity." March 2008. (Aug. 3, 2010)http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/research/shawteams.shtml.
  • World at Work. "Employees Say Teamwork, Communication Declining in Workplace." June 24, 2008. (Aug. 3, 2010)http://www.worldatwork.org/waw/adimComment?id=26911.

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