What are teamwork skills?

Teamwork skills include important social competences that make working constructively with each other within a team more successful.

Having solid teamwork skills is a very important characteristic that should be mentioned in every application. When people work together, there must be a willingness to discuss, compromise and pursue a common goal. Even if a certain position requires to work on projects alone, it is important to keep the overall goals of the team in mind.

Successful teamwork does not mean that one must get along perfectly with every other team member. Moreover, it also does not mean that one should be subordinate towards others just for the sake of peace. In essence, teamwork skills are about constructive cooperation, respectful interaction, and being proactive with one another to reach a goal.

Where different characters come together, teamwork skills are crucial.

animals showing teamwork skills in a boat

Teamwork is composed of…

  • Communication skills

The members of a successful team have an open way of communicating, giving each other constructive feedback as well as constructive criticism. The exchange of ideas and the discussion of opinions are essential for efficient teamwork. In the case of successful communication, non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication.

But having communication skills does not only mean to bring across one’s own wants and needs, but also to actively listen to fellow team members. This way one can learn more about their concerns, ambitions, and character overall, which aids in building a stronger team structure.

You can learn more in our virtual communication workshop.

  • Willingness to cooperate

Togetherness is the clear focus when working in a team. A team usually consists of members with diverse skillsets and abilities, so finding a collective goal can sometimes be challenging. However, defining a goal together and pursuing it is the only way to develop team spirit.

Cooperation also means that team members can mutually depend on each other. Each team member should be aware of their function and reliably meet deadlines and assignments. This is vital for gaining the trust of fellow colleagues.

  • Conflict management

Whenever different people meet, conflicts are inevitable. And that’s a good thing. What is important is how one deals with such conflicts. It is vital that team members talk to each other in a respectful manner and try to find conflict solutions together.

Usually, some team members can be more outspoken, while others may be more hesitant to contribute to a conversation. To avoid unnecessary conflicts, it is important to find a system in which every team member feels comfortable and valued to share their worthwhile opinions.

  • Critical thinking and reassessment

This means, above all, the ability to give and receive constructive criticism. A team cannot function when team members do not feel comfortable to talk about their own as well as the other member’s weaknesses and areas of improvement. The goal of the team is always the upmost priority, and no team member should take offense in constructive criticism.

By reassessment in teamwork, we mean the analysis and optimization of the relationships within a team. Regular and deliberate reassessment provides insights into matters of teamwork and organization. So, the relationships within the team need to be reevaluated and worked on constantly.

Why are teamwork skills important?

• If a team is made up of members who know their strengths, they will bring their most important assets into the team and guarantee for the best results.

• Having great teamwork skills should also be a priority because they are not a skill someone has or not, but they can be acquired. If one has trouble working in a team, it is possible to achieve improvements with time and effort.

• Successful teamwork results in employees working together much more efficiently. By splitting up tasks, the workload is not on one single person, but divided between several. This takes pressure off the individual, and people are much more likely to meet their goals and follow through with their tasks.

• Working together as a team also opens up opportunities to learn from other team members. Especially new employees can profit from working on projects with more experienced team members. In contrast, the more experienced employee can profit from the fresh ideas of the new employee.

How to improve teamwork skills

As mentioned above, being a good team worker is not a skill one either has or not but that it can be acquired and practiced over time.

• Encouraging feedback: Identifying one’s own strengths and weaknesses is not always that easy, which is why one should ask a colleague or team member for honest feedback. Going from there, one can focus on their strengths while working on improving possible weaknesses.

• Be patient: Improving skills is hard and takes time, so focusing on the bigger picture is vital. Practicing teamwork skills with small and achievable steps is a great starting point. An easy way to do that is to look at people who are excellent team players and copying the things they are doing right.

• Being aware of the overall goal: By keeping one’s eyes on the goal the team wants to achieve, it is much easier to compromise and find solutions. With that in mind, each member of the team can focus on the influence their tasks have on the bigger picture.

• Offering each other help: When one familiarizes him or herself with the work other team members are doing, it is easier to offer support to them when needed. Someone with good teamwork skills is there when teammates are struggling and can rely on them doing the same.

VIDEO: How to improve your teamwork skills