Teamwork works because it sharpens people’s interpersonal skills. Interdependent team members have to get along, because they can’t work alone. When someone else helps “butter your bread,” you learn how to see eye to eye with them.
Teamwork works because of its internalized ideals. Team members work together because they share ideals that transcend the individual: cooperation, accountability, client-focus, and even occasional personal sacrifice.
Teamwork works because it stimulates communication. When coworkers cooperate, coordinate, and control quality standards, they naturally communicate. Talk promotes everyone’s professional well being.
Teamwork works because it ensures mutual accountability. Without the peer pressure of teamwork, the team’s inevitable weak links (professional incompetence, personality dysfunctions, disorganization, unreliability, etc) continuously eat away at both people and productivity. But teams have a nasty way of holding their members accountable for “screw-ups” and bad attitudes. Accountability is upheld by self-interest–we have a stake in how other members of the team perform.
Teamwork works because it generates a strategic point of view. People who work together survive and thrive by focusing on their common strategic mission: Why are we here? What are we striving to accomplish? Who do we serve? How well are we performing? Strategy is the nucleus of extraordinary performance.
Teamwork works because it motivates people by making them feel productive, appreciated, needed, and unique.
The advantages of teamwork
- Enhanced quality and quantity of service to the people you serve
- Freeing up of the executive staff to focus more on strategy contributions (external networking, innovative ideas, visionizing, fund raising, travel, etc.) and less on micromanaging grass roots operations (operations decision-making, budgeting, brush fire management, clerical work, etc.)
- Diminished potential for staff burnout and frustration
- Enhanced professional development of non-executive staff: leadership development, decision-making responsibility, quality performance, etc.
- Improved internal communication
- Enhanced interpersonal relationships and bonding
- Sharpened reality orientation throughout the organization: big picture awareness, contributions and needs of individual programs, awareness of progress, communication needs, budgeting status, etc.
- Enhanced delivery of the community of meaning
- Increased communication within and between individual teams and projects
Teamwork benefits the overall organization by:
- Prompting a faster response to technological change
- Requiring fewer and simpler job classifications
- Strengthening the self-worth of the workforce
- Promoting an earlier warning system for potential problems
- Reducing isolated “silo” thinking
- Generating more time for leaders to work on strategic issues
- Reducing absenteeism
- Requiring long-term investment of people, time, and energy
Only teamwork is capable of delivering extraordinary performance: what others haven’t done before; in a way that team members haven’t experienced before; meeting client needs not satisfied before.
Phil Van Auken