Teamwork in an organization can be summed up in this quote by author John C. Maxwell reads, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
And we believe that.
There are so many other teamwork quotes. Maybe one day we’ll make a list of the really great ones so you can cut and paste around the workplace, eh?
In every workplace, the teamwork and cooperation levels need to be significant for the organization to progress. Each worker should do their parts harmoniously, like ants in an ant colony. For this to happen, workers need to cooperate which is the only way the organization can move forward.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of teamwork in an organization. It is a determining factor to the survival and thriving of where we work, our work motivation levels, and our career trajectory.
To better understand teamwork, learn how to observe it, and leverage its advantages, we first have to know what a team is all about.
What is Team-Work?
Teamwork is the collaborative effort of an organization of people who want to achieve a common goal, complete a task, and progress in the most efficient way. It is also a group of interdependent individuals sharing the same vision and working together to achieve their common objective.
For a group of people to form a team and work together, there are three essential characteristics which they must possess. They are:
- Interdependence and
- A shared goal
This is because teamwork is based on solid communication among the various members of the team. Just like a football team, all members need to be aware of the goal, work towards it in their capacity while helping other teammates. Doing this significantly reduces workload, improves work-life balance, and increases job satisfaction among workers.
Sadly, in most workplaces here in Nigeria, lots of workers and employers do not understand what teamwork is and its importance. They engage in unproductive activities, office politics, etc, all of which have detrimental effects on the organization’s progress. We can notice the lack of teamwork in the workplace just by observing the typical Nigerian workplace.
Factors Affecting Team-work in the Workplace
For a long time, teamwork has been advocated across the world. This is due to the overwhelming evidence of its role in an organization’s success. Just like its counterparts, the Nigerian workforce has shown an amount of interest in teamwork, but certain mitigating factors hinder teamwork spirit and expected positive outcomes.
These factors are:
Personal expectations and values
Teamwork requires collaboration and understanding between the team members. Every member has to be aware of the other teammates’ values and expectations.
If a member’s expectation isn’t met, or a boundary is broken, this can cause conflict which reduces productivity. To avoid this, team members have to know and understand the main goal without letting expectations and their personal interests outweigh the team’s goal.
For a team member to collaborate and work towards the goal at hand, he or she needs to be focused. Nigeria has its fair share of stress. From traffic when coming to work, to family issues, various situations can bring stress to a worker. And when he/she is stressed, the team has a handicap. You can keep your team members motivated to relieve stress. We have some helpful tips here.
Rivalries in the workplace
Human beings are social animals. Even though we are higher than base animals because of our rational thinking, we still have certain animalistic traits. This shows in the way we interact and socialize, setting boundaries and territories.
Just like when a lion fights another lion in control of a Pride, we tend to clash with fellow workers. But most times, these clashes aren’t physical; they’re subtle. Office gossip is usually responsible; like hearing what Mr A said about Mr B from the office grapevine.
Sometimes they are started by two workers who believe they both deserve a promotion, but there is only one spot. This can cause conflict, and if both parties are influential, it can have a negative impact on the whole organization.
If a worker isn’t happy with the leadership of the organization or team, he/she can be a threat to the progress of the team. Humans when dissatisfied can go to any length to make sure their grievances are felt.
Most times, their actions are subtle, but with time, the damage comes to light. The worker can decide to ‘punish’ the leader by not doing their tasks, or not meeting up with deadlines, etc. Their aim is mostly to undermine the authority of the leader, but in doing so they also negatively affect the team they are in.
Just like a bad/rotten fruit, the damage spreads, and before long it may be too late.
While all these factors and more can negatively impact the teamwork and collaboration levels of an organization, we at Street2Suit still advocate for it.
How to Increase Teamwork and Collaboration in the Workplace
If you’re also interested in learning teamwork strategies and how you can improve and increase collaboration in your workplace as an employee or employer, here are our 4 tips to do so. Even if you are working remotely, these ways still apply to you
Show your team members/employees you trust them
No adult likes to be hassled, especially when it comes to tasks they are assigned to. You can’t start a teamwork culture when you/ the managers are micromanaging everything an employee does.
It is better to set goals, deadlines and let the teamwork on the tasks themselves. This way, there’s trust among the management and employees which promotes more collaborations.
Create a safe space for contribution and sharing of ideas
To work together, teammates must first contribute. To contribute, they must feel safe enough to share their thoughts without shame or ridicule. Creating such an atmosphere will make team members freely express themselves which is an important element in increasing team cooperation.
This can be done with a Whatsapp group, or even in real-time. Could be during lunch, or breaks where workers in the same team gather together.
Managers should lead by example
Just like a baby learns to talk, act and think in certain ways because of the parent(s), employees also learn behavioural cues from their bosses/managers. If a manager preaches teamwork but still clashes with members, then workers won’t collaborate.
This all happens subconsciously, and even without direct instructions, employees often copy and mimic their managers’ behaviour in the team.
The aim here is to avoid negative behaviours, such as gossiping, and backbiting, and practice more positive work habits. Teamwork can also be promoted when the manager doesn’t use an “Us vs Them” mentality when working with cooperating departments.
Each team member should have a defined role
One of the commonly ignored aspects of work collaboration is defining roles. When each team doesn’t know what they are meant to do, there’s a high chance of resentment among the workforce.
So, let every team member know what they are meant to do. This way, everybody knows their tasks and works towards achieving the common goal.
Without teamwork in an organization, there is no chance of workplace success. this is why no matter the size of your workplace, you must have a working strategy to keep your team together and productive. As always, we’d love to hear about what challenges you face in keeping your team together on our LinkedIn page.