5 Ways to Encourage Effective Teamwork

Managing a project means relying on the strengths of each person on the team. To get the best results however, a manager needs to know that everyone is working together toward shared goals. With the right strategies, processes, and tools in place, you'll know you can count on your team to get the job done.

1. Establish a Vision of Effective Teamwork

Bringing a team together starts with a solid understanding of what you're trying to accomplish and what it's going to take to get there. A clear vision of the organization's bigger goals is essential for building effective teams and teamwork. Every individual needs to know how he or she is contributing to moving toward those objectives with each day's task.

By thinking through the structure of each project and providing detailed plans and schedules, leaders show how the team is doing its part to accomplish the organization's mission. The goals should be distinct, measurable, and based on a realistic timetable. It's up to the project manager to set a meaningful agenda and establish conditions that will give the group a chance to succeed.

2. Take Team-building into Account During Hiring

If an organization takes collaboration between employees seriously, that should show through in the hiring process. Every business tries to recruit people with experience and education in the field. However, when making decisions about new employees, management can also take into account whether they will make valuable additions to the group.

Asking smarter questions during interviews can have a big effect on choosing the right new hires. Make questions about candidates' experiences with effective teamwork in the workplace part of the routine interview process. That way, you can find out whether the person is likely to fit in with the overall vision.

3. Clarify Roles and Responsibilities

One of the greatest barriers to effective teamwork is confusion about where each member's duties begin and end. Each person needs to understand what's expected of him or her, including specific tasks, deadlines, and time commitments. Each worker should feel in charge of a piece of the project and know why it matters in the big picture.

4. Promote Communication and Collaboration

Once the team members all know what's expected of them individually, they still have to work together and share ideas to complete the project. There are a number of ways leaders can get their people to start talking to each other and cooperating more productively:

  • Each individual needs to understand how the different roles involved in a project fit together and make each other possible.
  • Employees should have ample opportunities to ask questions, give advice and ask for help when they need it.
  • Use collaborative tools to pass along information, feedback, and updates.
  • Effective teamwork calls for workers to trust one another and bring their individual skills to the table to solve problems.

5. Hold Everyone Accountable

Open and honest communication is also important when leaders are providing feedback on the efforts of team members. The majority should be constructive, but management must also be ready to address areas where the team is falling short. This should not be about criticizing people on a personal level. Instead, everyone has to watch out for each other, spotting where things could be done better or more efficiently.

To gain the benefits of effective teamwork, a leader needs to keep a close eye on the results coming from each worker. When a team member falls behind on an assigned task, the project manager should be able to catch the problem in real time. By staying constantly aware of the progress toward individual and shared goals, he or she can make adjustments and corrections as necessary.


Sources: AMANet.org, Forbes.com, TheBalance.com, HBR.org, Rework.withGoogle.com

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