The importance of teamwork

We hear a lot about the benefits of teamwork. But what are they exactly?

First published on Thursday, Jun 04, 2020

Last updated on Monday, Jul 31, 2023

It seems to be universally acknowledged that teamwork is good for business. Any naysayers are firmly in the minority. If the importance of teamwork is somewhat taken for granted, what exactly is it then that makes the promotion of teamwork a top priority for HR, management and businesses generally?

By identifying the benefits of teamwork, the HR function will be in a position to make the business case to management on policies ranging from learning and development to workplace diversity and culture.  In this article the we identify 6 key reasons demonstrating the importance of teamwork in the workplace.

1. Teamwork increases efficiency

The principle of division of labour was a critical element in the industrial revolution. The division of labour or separation of tasks is essentially teamwork in action.

Employees who understand the importance of teamwork will:

  • break complex tasks down into simpler ones, assign responsibility for each component task and work together to complete the overall task    
  • develop specific skills whereby each team member completes their task as quickly and effectively as possible.

Effective teamwork makes your workplace more efficient. The upside for your business includes increased productivity, reduced costs, greater profitability and greater employee engagement.

2. Teams self-regulate

A solitary worker will enjoy total autonomy for completion of a task. If this employee begins to slack or work less effectively however and a reprimand becomes necessary, you are already losing.

In an effective team, numerous people take on responsibility for a shared outcome. Members of the same team will monitor and note the quality of one another’s work. If the performance of one team member deteriorates, it will be noted immediately by the remaining members of the team who will provide encouragement to get back on track. In a properly functioning team there will be less call for management interventions as the team will regulate its own performance.    

3. Teams find innovative solutions

Any task or problem will generally have a number of possible solutions. If one employee is assigned the task of completing a project, s/he will of course generate a number of ideas but if a team of employees is asked to complete a project, the outcome will benefit from the wider range of perspectives, skillsets and backgrounds of each team member.

Assigning a team to complete a task can lead to better outcomes and more innovative results.

4. Team members teach one another

In much the same way that teammates monitor one another’s performance, members of effective teams also learn from one another. Employees working on a solitary basis will work to their strengths and ignore areas of weakness.

If employees are afforded the opportunity to work together it won’t be long before they are learning from one another’s areas of strength and receiving feedback on their areas of weakness. Teamwork improves individual and collective performance.  

5. Teamwork hones competitive edge

In addition to learning from one another, members of a team that work together will rapidly begin to compete with one another as areas of weakness become areas of strength. This healthy competition will serve as a useful performance incentive as team members seek to prove their worth and chase promotion or other rewards within your organisation.

So long as appropriate rewards and incentives for promotion are in place, this dose of healthy competition can improve and sustain team performance.

6. Teamwork develops loyal working relationships

Maybe most notable of all from the employer perspective is the way in which team members that work and succeed together develop strong bonds based on trust and friendship. This is a boon for your organisation as employees who trust and respect one another are more inclined to:

  • communicate effectively
  • support one another
  • motivate one another
  • work in a cooperative manner.

As you can see, the rewards to be reaped from promoting team effectiveness are substantial for your organisation. No wonder organisations value teamwork so highly!   

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