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8 Reasons Why Teamwork Is Important at Work

8 Reasons Why Teamwork Is Important at Work

We all work on teams in some part of our life, and the importance of teamwork is evident in each one of them. If we don’t get our work finished on time, we realize at some level that we’re pushing responsibilities onto other members of the team.

However, the importance of teamwork goes beyond fulfilling our duties to others. The old African proverb on teamwork says it best:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Teamwork helps us grow as people and accomplish more than we ever could on our own.

Without teamwork, we wouldn’t be able to build companies at all. So what, exactly, makes teamwork so important in the workplace?

Teamwork helps us in many ways. Without teamwork, many of our jobs would likely never get done. Below are just a few more reasons outlining the importance of teamwork.

1. Have Empathy and Support for Other Team Members

The emotional side of leadership is finally getting the attention it deserves. Executives have found that while people might respect their “no-nonsense” boss, they might not be as inspired by them.

Empathy can make team members more loyal, engaged, happy, creative, and willing to work together. A team working together closely can see what each member contributes.

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Think about what that means: through empathy, employees on a team can hold each other accountable, lend helping hands, and speak up when someone needs a break. They are dependent on each other for success and have real, in-person interactions, so they are much more likely to put themselves in each others’ shoes.

My team uses a project management platform called Teamwork to support each other, and we’ve seen improvement in how we look out for each other. If everybody’s on the same page about where a project stands, it makes it easier to understand where somebody’s mindset is when they are doing certain tasks.

2. Share Responsibilities

Like a football team, each member of a work team has his or her own specialty. Even if the right tackle dominates every play, it doesn’t mean that the team is going to win. It takes every player, doing his or her part and working together to win.

Companies can’t hope to compete if only half the team is pushing for the finish line. If one player is having a bad day, the rest of the team has to pitch in — which keeps those team members from owning their own roles.

This is how teams work: they make decisions that benefit the group, even if it means certain members need to make sacrifices. Group identity is what might inspire someone to go to war for their country or put in overtime hours on a group project.

When you identify as being part of a team, it triggers a shift in you goals. No longer are you thinking “What’s in it for me?” You’re thinking “What does this mean for us?” This motivates you to then pursue the goals of the group, making the company stronger.

3. Build Bonds

We’ve probably all done the “trust fall” exercise. While this might be the most common team-building exercise, it’s not the only way to help a team come together. Workplace teams spend long hours together and need to trust each member to protect everyone’s livelihood.

A few ways to encourage them to build strong bonds and work better together are:

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Games and Competitions

Companies can encourage their teams to build strong bonds through things like games and competitions. Games like waste basketball, ping pong, and two-minute trivia can help break up the work day and encourage the team to get to know each other on a personal level in a fun, friendly setting.

Eating Together

What brings people together like food? Almost nothing. Encourage employees to eat together. Maybe that means taking a slightly longer lunch break or going out on Fridays. Enjoying happy hour or appetizers after work are also smart strategies.

Encouraging Personal Conversations During Downtime

You don’t want your workers goofing around all of the time, of course, but the occasional watercooler conversation can actually promote productivity and teamwork.

Exchanging pictures of kids and pets during downtime, or sharing hobbies and passions helps team members to relate on a personal level. That, in turn, strengthens the bonds that make them an effective team.

4. Improve Service Quality

Especially in industries that aren’t known for their customer service, teamwork can make a company shine.

The book “You Don’t Have to be Ruthless to Win” by Jonathan Keyser, in particular, inspired me to be more selfless. Keyser leads a fast-growing commercial real estate company that operates with the principle to selflessly serve others[1] on the team and around them. Because buy-in must be broad for a team to function, Keyser considers clients part of that culture as well.

Learning to serve others as a team can be challenging and complicated, but it can also be deeply rewarding. Selfless service requires people to collaborate and go the extra mile. A team’s relationships must be built on trust and mutual respect for its members to act selflessly.

5. Promote a Positive Office Culture

Not all employees prefer to work on a team as opposed to as individual contributors, but nobody wants to work on a team that doesn’t get along. Arguments and tensions make work less fun for everyone involved.

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Good team players make good co-workers, which ultimately create a good culture. We spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our own families, so it’s important to enjoy being with those that we’re around.

To make your work culture more enjoyable and productive, it’s important to encourage employees to be good team players. Team players come together to get the job done, even if it means putting in a little more time than someone else.

6. Foster Psychological Safety

A few years ago, Google researchers dug into a question companies have been trying to answer for ages: What defines the perfect team?

Google discovered[2] that it wasn’t about years of experience, personality alignment, or perks. It was the fact that ideal teams have psychological safety. In essence, good teams have the ability to fail, share opinions, and debate ideas without worrying about being judged or ostracized.

Psychological safety and teamwork are mutually reinforcing. Teams that work well together learn to feel safe with one another. That security can help develop more creative, effective ideas for the company as a whole.

In a Harvard Business Review interview[3], Amy Edmondson — the researcher who first coined the term — explained that psychological safety is built structurally and behaviorally. The former is about constructing small teams whose members identify with each other; the latter is a matter of people asking for feedback and being vulnerable.

7. Create Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is rare at companies that do not appreciate the importance of teamwork. When team members know that their peers have their backs, they feel free to close their laptops at the end of a long day or go on vacation and utilize their PTO.

Because they feel taken care of, they’re also willing to go the extra mile when work needs to get done. If a co-worker needs time off for a vacation or other personal time, everyone else on the team can come together to pick up the slack.

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We all deserve time away from work. Having co-workers to help you out, tell you to take time off, and hold you accountable for resting and relaxing helps to make that happen.

8. Encourage Innovation

Innovative companies know the importance of teamwork. Rarely, if ever, are innovations the result of a genius locked away in a laboratory by him or herself.

Keith Ayers, head of the Integro Leadership Institute, breaks innovation into four roles[4]: creating, advancing, refining, and executing.

Creators are idea people. They see possibilities, even if those ideas may not work in practice. Advancers promote those ideas, ensuring they do not die on the vine. Refiners do the work of getting to the idea’s meat: They ask “what if” questions to find its best possible iteration. Executors, of course, turn the idea from a blueprint concept into an actual product. It would take a very precise person a lot of time to do all of that on their own.

Final Thoughts

Teamwork isn’t just a buzzword your boss likes to throw around. The importance of teamwork can be seen in every Fortune 500 company, but also in other aspects of life, such as successful relationships with friends and family. Without teamwork, we would likely not have safe roads to drive on, fresh food to eat, complex medical procedures, and so much more.

Teamwork is what separates companies that sputter out from those that succeed. Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, use teamwork to help you go the distance.

More Tips on Teamwork

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Keyser: Our Culture
[2] The New York Times: What Google Learned From its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
[3] Harvard Business Review: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace
[4] Entrepreneur: Innovation Takes Teamwork

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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Last Updated on May 7, 2021

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

I have been an early-riser for over a year now. Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 AM without hitting the snooze button even once. I never take naps and rarely feel tired throughout the day. The following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM.The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early. Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” However, for the unaccustomed, the task of waking up at 5:00 AM can seem extremely daunting. This article will present five tips about how to physically wake up at 5:00 AM and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day.

Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

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Relocate your alarm clock.

Having an alarm clock too close to your bed is the number one reason people simply cannot get up in the morning. If your alarm clock is within arms reach of your bed, or if you can turn your alarm clock off without getting out of bed, you are creating an unnecessarily difficult situation for yourself. Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. This may not be possible for all living arrangements, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock and putting it in the bathroom makes perfect sense. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed, and since going to the restroom and taking a shower are the first two things I do everyday, keeping the alarm clock in the bathroom streamlines the start of my morning.

Scrap the snooze.

The snooze feature on all modern alarm clocks serves absolutely no constructive purpose. Don’t even try the “it helps me slowly wake up” lie. I recommend buying an alarm that does not have a snooze button. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, never read the instructions so you will never know how long your snooze button lasts. Not knowing whether it waits 10 minutes or 60 minutes should be enough of a deterrent to get you to stop using it.

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Change up your buzzer

If you use the same buzzer day in and day out, you begin to develop a tolerance to the sound. The alarm clock will slowly become less effective at waking you up over time. Most newer alarm clocks will let you set a different buzzer tone for the different days of the week. If you change your buzzer frequently, you will have an easier time waking up.

Make a puzzle

If you absolutely cannot wake up without repetitive snoozing, try making a puzzle for yourself. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the longer your alarm is going off, the more awake you will become. Try making your alarm very difficult to turn off by putting it under the sink, putting it under the bed, or better yet, by forcing yourself to complete a puzzle to turn it off. Try putting your alarm into a combination-locked box and make yourself put in the combination in order to turn off the alarm — it’s annoying, but extremely effective!

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Get into a routine

Getting up at 5:00 AM is much easier if you are doing it Monday through Friday rather than sporadically during the week. I recommend setting an alarm once that repeats everyday. Also, going to bed at about the same time every night is an important factor to having a productive morning. Learn how much sleep you need to get in order to not feel exhausted the following day. Some people can get by on 4-6 hours while most need 7-8.

Have a reason

Make sure you have a specific reason to get up in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM just for the heck of it is a lot more difficult than if you are getting up early to plan your day, pay bills, go for a jog, get an early start on work, etc. I recommend finding something you want to do for yourself in the morning. It will be a lot easier to get up if you are guaranteed to do something fun for yourself — compare this to going on vacation. You probably have no problem waking up very early on vacation or during holidays. My goal every morning is to bring that excitement to the day by doing something fun for myself.

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As I previously mentioned, I have been using these tips for a very long time. Joining the world of early-risers has been a great decision. I feel less stressed, I get more done, and I feel happier than I did when I was a late-riser. If you follow these tips you can become an early-riser, too. Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments.

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