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Published on March 18, 2020

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 March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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