What is Teamwork?

Creating a team is a simple process, but for that team to create teamwork is quite another. Joining or creating a team does not, in itself, equal teamwork. Many “teams” simply work individually on projects, assignments, and responsibilities. So what is teamwork, and why is it so important?

What is Teamwork?

Teamwork is defined as “the combined actions of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient.” The French term for teamwork has a much broader, more unique definition, specifically a sense of unity and a common enthusiasm for shared interests, responsibilities, and goals. Teamwork isn’t simply being part of a team or a group of people. It is having enthusiasm for sharing knowledge, information, goals, and working as one unit, not many parts doing individual projects.

Why is Teamwork so Important?

It has been discussed time and again how much more productive a team can be compared to individuals working solo. So let’s touch on a few areas quickly where teamwork benefits everyone.

  • Creates a more empowered workplace
  • Synergy is created
  • Promotes a leaner workplace, less hierarchy, less duplication of efforts
  • Encourages multi-disciplinary work across departments and specialties
  • Improves flexibility and responsiveness, creating an improved customer experience
  • Promotes sense of achievement for everyone involved

Teamwork doesn’t mean that everyone does everything, or that no one has defined responsibilities. Teamwork means that everyone is there to help, to guide, to maximize the strengths of the group. Team sports are a great way to watch and understand how the smaller parts work together to accomplish a shared goal. Leadership in management is essential to ensure a productive and functioning team.

What Makes a Team?

Before discussing what makes a team, let’s discuss what discourages teamwork and creates a void in communication. Poor management, unhappy people, and the focus on oneself all are incompatible with teamwork. When people are focused only on their own responsibilities, push other requirements or requests off on others, or do the minimal requirements in their work, they are not capable of working as a team. But working in a team is not the same as working as a team.

Not all teams are made of friends, nor do they have to be. They simply have to be made of people who complement each other’s skills and strengths, provide support and guidance when necessary, and work together in a meaningful way. Building a successful team takes time, energy, and ongoing support and guidance from management and mentors.