Many business goal lists feature entries about increasing profitability, entering new markets and improving customer retention rates. Those are all valid aspirations. However, teamwork should also appear within a company’s objectives. Here’s why it matters to make your business grow and stay strong.
It Emphasizes That Each Worker Has a Valuable Voice
One of the defining principles of teamwork is that people can provide valuable insights regardless of their role or time at the company. Although a manager may make all the leadership decisions, being a team player means they also take time to listen to what workers have to say before reaching a conclusion.
Similarly, if an organization has teamwork as a well-defined cultural value, people should feel comfortable about speaking up, even if they are not in positions of authority. Collaboration allows for hearing multiple perspectives about how to get stuff done and solve issues that arise.
Diversity of thought can help an organization solve problems faster and more creatively. However, if the workplace prizes competition among employees rather than fostering a spirit of togetherness, many people may feel too intimidated to provide input. Even worse, they may assume that what they have to say is not worth it, even if it brings relevance to the discussion.
Company leaders that prize teamwork recognize that each person has various influences that make them who they are and affect their working style to some degree. Those things could include their personal values, culture, upbringing, educational background and personality. Such variety is a source of strength. Differences cause people to have unique voices that teamwork encourages them to use.
It Helps Teams Realize They Accomplish More Together
Working as a team does not mean everyone gets along, and disagreements occur even among the most effective groups. Teamwork consists of people pursuing shared goals. It also promotes the idea that they can achieve more while working alongside others than by themselves.
A team-driven work environment does not develop automatically — it requires a fundamental restructuring of the business. For example, a change in management style may help people become better team players.
Leadership behaviors matter, too. If people throughout the organization see everyone from the CEO down showing consistent, admirable leadership skills, they’ll want to develop those aspects in themselves.
It also helps when how much people get paid depends partly on their willingness to contribute to the company as a whole. For example, tip money may go into a pool that’s split among workers at the end of the day. That arrangement reduces competitive behaviors and emphasizes that everyone contributes to keeping customers happy and making them feel eager to tip.
When people understand that working as part of a team increases the quality of the output, they’ll also be more likely to realize that it’s OK — and expected — to ask for help from peers. Conversely, they’ll feel empowered to assist others if they have knowledge that could benefit their colleagues. That kind of sharing could strengthen the company by creating a situation where employees help fill information gaps.
If an organization prioritizes team building, that does not mean its leaders ignore personal growth. People should keep trying to better themselves through continual learning and exposing themselves to scenarios that fall outside their comfort zones. However, they should also take to heart that they can achieve more with support and input from others than they would as solo contributors.
It Facilitates Bonding Opportunities
If people only have minimal interactions with co-workers, it’ll be more difficult for them to notice and experience the benefits of working as teams. That’s why many companies host dedicated events to give employees more chances to work together. Taking that approach is especially useful in cases where a business has numerous departments, and the people from each one rarely interact with each other.
Suppose a business leader has employees go through a time-based obstacle course. In that case, participants will strike a balance between showing their competitiveness while trying to achieve a fast time and cheering on their co-workers as they go through the challenge. People see their colleagues in a new environment, which breaks down barriers and opens opportunities for problem-solving.
People who go through a team-building exercise together often have greater respect for each other and realize there was a lot they didn’t know about their co-workers. The opportunities to learn more about others can also occur during events that allow people to give back and show empathy. For example, employees might shovel snow to help older or physically disabled residents who could not do it themselves. They must be organized enough to finish the job efficiently but safely. They might split into pairs and then all meet back at a certain point after an hour to check in with each other.
It Boosts Productivity
When employees work well as a team, they are more likely to maintain high output. That’s because people have various strengths and weaknesses. Team-based activities can accommodate those differences and give employees chances to shine.
Consider a situation where a marketing team must create a top-notch presentation to impress a potential new client. That could easily become a daunting task, but it’s more manageable when people share the workload. One person might perform the research while another designs the presentation’s graphics, and someone else decides what to include on each slide.
The productivity improvements can even happen when people work remotely and rarely or never clock in at the same building. Many companies have team communications platforms where they ask for input, share news about industry developments or provide tips about what works well for them.
Imagine if someone posts a comment, confessing that they feel like they take too much time on certain tasks. A colleague might then chime in that they previously had the same difficulty but found an app or process improvement that helped them boost productivity.
When people work together and support each other, they learn that some of the struggles they initially thought were theirs alone are surprisingly common. Other individuals may provide actionable strategies to help them more efficiently complete their tasks, which makes the whole team improve.
Prioritize Team Building This Year
This overview highlights why you can’t afford to overlook team-building initiatives and values while ironing out your company goals list. People who function smoothly in team environments are well-equipped to help businesses meet other milestones that don’t directly relate to teamwork.
About the author
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.