Are You Taking Advantage of Teamwork during the Pandemic?

John R. Stoker is the author of  “Overcoming Fake Talk” and the president of Dialogue WORKS, Inc.  His organization helps clients and their teams improve leadership engagement in order to achieve superior results. He is an expert in the fields of leadership, change, dialogue, critical thinking, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence, and has worked and spoken to such companies as Cox Communications, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, and AbbVie. Connect with him on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. 

10 Reasons to Focus on Teamwork 

At a recent speaking event, I had someone ask me whether or not it was really worth trying to improve the quality of the way people work together. Somewhat surprised, I asked him why he would ask. He responded that he was really enjoying working at home during the COVID pandemic. When I asked him why, he shared that it was a relief for him to not have to interact as much with the members of his team who were difficult. He also indicated that rather than having to wait for less experienced team members to perform, he would simply do the more complex work himself while giving them the easier assignments. His comments about teamwork were telling. This gentleman’s answers made me wonder what it must have been like to work as a member of his team before the pandemic forced people to work remotely from home.

Working in well-functioning teams has distinct advantages, not only in the quality of work produced but also in the positive effect that teamwork has for those on the team.

As you take a look at how your teams are functioning, consider these 10 reasons for strengthening the quality of your teamwork.

 Increases in practical problem-solving 

When people come together, they often have differing viewpoints and perspectives. Exploring these individual differences can help to create more efficient solutions to problems. Capitalizing on everyone’s ideas, learning, and expertise can lead to higher quality solutions.

Improved innovation

One of the things that the manager above didn’t understand is the value that different and even seemingly difficult people provide. Because of the diversity in age, experience, gender, and ethnicity, innovation is likely to be enhanced. Diversity tends to challenge comfort levels and typical processes, allowing for increased vantage points and the opportunity to grow. Challenges may be addressed differently, the perspective may be expanded, and learning increased as teams with diverse backgrounds come together to work toward common goals and objectives.

Increases in work satisfaction

When a team has good energy and synergy, working together becomes encouraging as well as inspiring. This productive team atmosphere helps to reduce stress and improve the quality of each individual’s work life. Where people work well together and enjoy one another’s company, personal engagement and productivity is increased.

Provided learning opportunities

Working in teams provides multiple learning opportunities. Individuals may learn different skills from others more proficient than themselves. When solving complex problems, teams learn together what works and what doesn’t. Team members can cross-train each other as necessary to support each other and increase productivity. Learning from others and with others helps individual team members improve their professional capacity.

Working in well-functioning teams has distinct advantages, not only in the quality of work produced, but also in the positive effect that teamwork has for those on the team. 

JOHN STOKER

Improved communication

Teammates must learn to provide needed feedback if the work is to improve and move forward. When candor and openness are encouraged and respected, team members will feel empowered to ask questions, offer out-of-the-box ideas, and invite disagreement in an attempt to improve solutions and reach the team’s objectives.

Creating shared responsibility

When a team is working together to achieve a desired outcome, they will share the responsibility to support each other by doing the best work that they can. They will also focus more on the success of the collective group, rather than on individual self-promotion.

Increased appreciation through recognition

Where team members regularly provide recognition and express appreciation for the efforts of individuals, those individuals feel valued for their contributions. When individuals feel valued, motivation to contribute increases and individual morale is heightened. Recognition and appreciation fuels increased unity, support, and productivity.

Creating mutual support to take purposeful risks

When individuals work alone, they tend to be more risk-averse because the opportunity for failure is greater. However, when working as part of a well-functioning team, individuals know that their teammates will support them. Such a team will likely take larger risks to achieve greater results than they may have attempted alone. This type of team will also expend their best thinking and thoroughly explore the risks involved before making a commitment to their decision.

Increased trust among group members

When everyone on a team is committed to the achievement of a common goal through good communication and shared workload, trust will be increased. Where trust is high, collaboration and support will also be high. The greater the collaboration and contribution by individuals, the greater the potential for success.

Decrease management time

Where teams work together toward achieve common goals, there is a sense of self-monitoring as well as team unity. This team dynamic reduces the time that managers have to worry and follow up on individual performances as team members help and support one another.

Obviously, the challenge of working remotely may impact the interactions of team members. However, taking the time to meet together regularly online, checking in with one another, offering assistance and support to each other, and expressing appreciation to one another will go a long way toward improving your team’s performance and the quality of their work. Strengthening teams will equal greater results than you could ever achieve working alone.

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