Teamwork isn't something that just happens accidentally -- it's built over time using strategies that encourage group interaction. When you want to ensure that your workplace has an effective teamwork environment, you must promote trust so coworkers feel safe and comfortable sharing ideas. Since there's no "I" in teamwork, you must create a work environment that focuses on accountability, mutual respect and team-centered goals.
Without healthy communication between employees, it's difficult to create a team-oriented workforce. According to Penn State University's "Building Blocks for Teams" website, strong communication skills allow individuals to listen and articulate the ideas and concerns that are necessary to team projects. Friendly, non-criticizing, positive communication builds a trusting environment, making it easier for coworkers to share feedback, offer suggestions and participate in group discussions.
Cooperation is essential to completing team-centered work projects. Employees must contribute to an organizational atmosphere by working as a cohesive unit to achieve goals. An article by Reginald Gardner on The University of Phoenix School of Business website, discussing the effect of teamwork on the bottom line, explains that a cooperative mindset requires you to consider opinions that may be different from your own, respecting coworkers for the contributions they make. You don't have to agree with a coworker's suggestions, but politely considering their ideas and encouraging unity among team members promotes teamwork. Since you're working toward a common goal, cooperation is usually the quickest and most effective means to accomplishing tasks.
Most team projects and group work assignments have their fair share of conflicts, but that doesn't mean projects have to fall apart or that hurt feelings have to destroy team efforts. It's important to encourage individuals to facilitate solutions to conflicts so the team remains functional. This requires team members to apologize for rude behavior, accept positive criticism for poor performance and correct bad habits, such as laziness, tardiness or carelessness.
One of the key factors to effective teamwork is the absence of selfishness. If one person thinks he's more important or more valuable to the team, then collaborative efforts disappear. There's no room for domination or control in a team-oriented workplace. Teamwork requires individuals to place the achievement of the group over personal aspirations. When coworkers put their selfish goals aside to pursue what's best for the group, teamwork happens.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.