Teamwork – it’s one of the simplest concepts out there (heck, it’s been instilled in us since elementary school) but you’d be surprised to know how many teams underestimate its real power.
Teamwork is one of the biggest factors in a team’s success… or failure. 86% of employees and execs cite lack of collaboration and ineffective communication as a major reason for workplace failures.
Effective teamwork increases job satisfaction, team performance, and employee engagement. It also helps build psychological safety, which ultimately means your team will come up with more innovative ideas and creative solutions to problems because they know everyone’s got their back along the way.
So what’s the difference between OK teamwork and great teamwork? Great teamwork is something to be invested in, nurtured, and fostered — it’s never a one and done. It’s a blend of communication, collaboration, connection, and support. And even if you think your team is running smooth as butter, chances are, there are opportunities to forge stronger bonds, tighten up communication, foster collaboration, and build a culture of teamwork that actually makes the dream work.
Let’s find out how.
The first secret to building a stronger team is aligning on team goals and a shared sense of purpose. Clear goals and objectives will get the entire team on the same page, moving in the same direction toward a common goal, and that's the basis of stable, successful teamwork. When you've got a team of people rallying around a common objective, folks are more likely to feel like they're part of something, which boosts accountability too.
Building a culture of trust and gratitude is a big one, and is sadly sometimes ignored in organizations because, well, “gratitude” isn't a balance sheet line item. But while it doesn't reside on a P&L, it's tremendously important for strengthening team culture and building a strong team.
Studies have actually shown that gratitude in the workplace can be a bigger, better motivator than compensation and bonuses. Knowing you're on a supportive team can have a huge impact. These things go a long way in fostering a culture of teamwork and creating a stronger team.
When folks are empowered to own their work, great things happen – all across the team. Autonomy makes people more excited about their work. When teammates know they have autonomy, it often leads to a more collaborative environment since people are generally more engaged and aren’t afraid of losing ownership of their work. Effective collaboration fosters more creative ideas and greater innovation, so it’s a win all around. And working together with others who bring new ideas to the table magnifies individual talents and drives impact— that’s the power of teamwork.
Effective communication is foundational to any successful team. When teams are talking, folks know who’s working on what, where projects stand, and who they can turn to for support or feedback. Strong teams are built on strong communication practices.
Open communication also fosters more inclusive teams and a healthy work culture — where everyone has access to the same information and folks feel more comfortable surfacing issues because communicating openly when things arise is the norm.
If your team is remote or hybrid, it can take some extra work to get teamwork flowing smoothly. When you don’t have serendipitous snack kitchen conversations and can’t swivel in your chair to chat with a teammate, you have to get a lot more intentional with how you communicate and connect. It’s a lot easier for micromanagement to slip in on remote teams too, since it’s naturally harder to keep tabs on what everyone’s working on.
We recently learned about a concept called “grafting” (from this TED Talk), which offers some fresh ideas on bringing new employees into the fold that go way beyond simple onboarding. Grafting differs from onboarding in that it’s about mindfully integrating new hires into the fabric of your team through small practices over time — not just through a week of training or a new hire doc. It focuses more holistically on new employee well-being, rather than just throwing them into the trenches.
Grafting focuses on 4 key areas: empathy, integration, psychological safety, and communication. Here’s what that might look like in action.
Successful teamwork isn’t an exact science and it’ll ultimately look different on every team. The recommendations in this post can serve as a solid starting point, but let it be an iterative one.
The best way to build a more collaborative environment on any team is to start checking in with each other as part of your daily routine. Connect with your teammates through regular touch-points (in meetings or async) and have ongoing conversations about gaps and opportunities to work better together. Make it a true team effort.
And when you’re ready to take that next step towards stronger teamwork, Range can help. Teams use Range to build up stronger habits around communication, collaboration, and connection through lightweight activities every day — bonus: Range also helps with productivity by helping you track daily tasks across all your tools. Through daily check-ins it’s easy for everyone, even remote team members, to see who’s working on what and support each other every step of the way. You’ll start to see more collaboration and team cohesion almost immediately.
The benefits of teamwork are endless — we’re here to help you unlock them.Learn how Range helps teams fuel great teamwork