The dictionary definition of teamwork is: ‘the process of working collaboratively with a group of people to achieve a common goal.’ Our world runs largely on interdependence. Companies today know that effective products or services need multiple skills to be created and therefore better solutions, services, or products depend on better teamwork. More and more organizations nowadays assess teamwork skills before recruitment, yet our education has very rarely helped us to develop teamwork skills. In your professional life, good conversational skills can play an important role in developing your ability to be part of a team. So improving your spoken English could be a good practice to undertake.
Groups vs Teams
It is important to understand that a Group and a Team are two different things. An individual working in a Group is responsible only for his or her task within the group. Members of a Team are responsible not only for their individual goal but also the achievement of the team goal. Group members work independently and are not involved in planning, providing suggestions, or understanding the roles of other group members. Team members work in a more interdependent fashion and plan how to achieve their goal in a collaborative manner. As a result, the atmosphere in a Team is more open with greater trust among members, than in a Group. Questioning and contributions are welcome. Leaders of Groups often end up with very few fresh ideas, whereas leaders of Teams have a wider range of ideas and opinions which help in better decision making.
A key difference between a Group and a Team is in the way each views conflict. In a Group, conflicts are threatening. People prefer to keep their opinions to themselves and problems may remain unresolved as a result. Conflicts are seen as a necessary stepping stone to success in a team. They welcome opportunities to discuss key ideas and opinions. It is however, understood both in Groups and Teams that the leader’s decision is final.
Conditions for effective teamwork
The Goal Must Be Clearly Stated
For example – ‘Volkswagen will be the No. 1 car brand in the luxury segment by 2015.’
Success Should Be Clearly Measurable Through Results
‘Volkswagen will earn the highest revenue in the domestic luxury car segment in 2015 and maintain this position in 2016 and 2017.’
‘Product development, Marketing, and Sales should create their individual goals which will aim to achieve this goal for Volkswagen’. The result may be a luxury car with suspension suited for Indian roads and an aggressive price and delivery model.
Team members must understand the quality standards set for the goal. These should be clear and measurable.
An encouraging and collaborative culture
A consistent pattern of openness, honesty, trust, mutual respect, and encouragement helps to foster successful teams.
Leading by example
The team leader’s ethics, behavior, and supportiveness will define the sense of security and productivity in the team. If the leader is seen as benefiting personally from the team’s efforts without giving due credit to the team, effectiveness will reduce.
Improve Spoken English for Good Communication
It is crucial to speak the same language and communicate effectively. The contemporary business landscape is getting more and more global. Most corporate organizations today require their employees to have a strong command of spoken English. That is why as an employee, it is a good idea for you to try and learn English to the best of your ability. Learning English will not only allow you to excel at your job, but will also open doors to many other opportunities in life.
Learning English takes effort, but small steps every day can make a big difference, especially with regard to your career path. To learn English in simple steps from home, try the free EnglishHelper English speaking course. It will help improve your English grammar and your spoken English.
How to develop your teamwork skills
Know Where You Are
The best way to assess yourself is to place yourself in team situations through team sports, project teams, and organizational teams for events at your institute.
Analyze Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Use the above information to be Team oriented, not Group oriented. Reflect on what you did well and where you need to improve. For example, were you too accommodating with others and as a result, kept your ideas to yourself? Remember, conflict is not necessarily a bad thing, provided it serves to achieve the team goal. Ask your team members about your performance. You will get a more accurate picture as a result. Do the same for them.
Maintain Your Strengths
Continue to take on responsibilities in the areas where you do well.
Build on Your Weaknesses
Identify an area in which you need to improve. Ask a team member competent in this area to help you. Remember to return the favor.
To Lead, Know That It Is ALL Your Responsibility
Once you have achieved the last two, think of the entire goal as your responsibility. Build your own competence first. Then, help, encourage and fill in as many gaps as you can. Maintaining the trust of your team members as you do this is crucial. You should aim for the achievement of the goal and put personal benefit on the back burner for everyone to trust you and allow you to lead. Share credit, encourage and provide genuine praise wherever you can.
“Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.” – Brian Tracy, Corporate Trainer.