Teamwork skills are the mix of skills that an employee uses to contribute to the group, and skills used to make the most out of everyone’s contributions. For organizations seeking to optimize how their teams interact, coaching is an effective approach for developing the skills that contribute to good team productivity.
What Are Teamwork Skills?
Teamwork skills enable employees to perform well within a group. These skills can be divided into two types:
- Personal skills, which are internally-focused and allow the employee to take on an effective role within the team
- Affiliative skills, which are outwardly-focused and promote cooperation
In general, soft skills are dominant, although hard skills can come into play (such as working with scheduling programs and creating reports).
Why Are Teamwork Skills in the Workplace Important?
Even employees who operate independently need to work in groups at times. Teamwork skills are necessary at any type of meeting where more than two people are present. Common activities that require teamwork skills, and which almost every employee encounters, include goal-setting, task division, change management, and problem solving. Remote work also requires teamwork skills, with full-time WFH employees spending 27% of their day in collaborative activities. In all, a significant percentage of employees across job levels rate teamwork as being important.
Examples of Teamwork Skills
As mentioned above, teamwork skills can be described in terms of personal skills and affiliative skills:
Organization and Planning
Being part of a team means keeping track of responsibilities. Properly recording tasks and organizing them into priorities is essential for doing one’s part.
Closely related to planning is the issue of time management. This goes beyond putting tasks into a schedule. Ensuring that the task is completed on time must take into account competing activities, the length of time required to complete the job, and coordinating with the efforts of others. In addition, employees must be able to eliminate distractions, which is a significant challenge.
The ability to examine a problem from different viewpoints is a skill that can be exercised by the individual even when outside of a group setting. When participating in teamwork, creative thinking allows each member to prepare various options before the team identifies the most valuable ones.
Communication might be the most essential teamwork skill. A team can include coworkers, superiors, and subordinates. For a team to be successful, members should know how to deal appropriately with each of these groups. For example, a supervisor needs a different explanation of a challenge facing the department compared to a manufacturing worker. Employees should have some type of proficiency in communicative styles (writing, public speaking, presentations) that are relevant to their position. Finally, every worker benefits from enhancing basic communication skills including speaking, listening, and responding.
As a complementary skill to creative thinking, critical thinking allows the team to narrow down available choices. Teams with good critical thinking skills will recognize the value of ideas regardless of who presents them, and will also derive a result that is a combination of elements of the best approaches.
In any group effort, there can be a conflict between personalities and/or ideas. A professional will keep emotions out of the picture and focus on a constructive role, no matter what direction the team chooses or which people take the lead.
How to Improve Teamwork Skills
The best way to improve any skill is by exercising it. However, because teamwork is dynamic and interactive, it is not always practical to depend on a member of the team to record steps, critique the process, and provide recommendations. This will interfere with the participation of the team member in the project itself.
Instead, an HR/L&D practitioner should take an objective role in observing the team at work and advising areas for improvement.
Another option for developing teamwork skills is the use of a coach. The archetype of a coach is a person who brings individual athletes and turns them into a team. Similarly, a teamwork coach can advise a company on how to bring out the greatest contribution from every team member and optimize their productivity.
Coaches are also desirable because they can define the shortcomings of the team in terms of skills. Then, at a later stage, coaches can improve those skills using L&D programs in which they act as the expert.
The Team at GrowthSpace
Getting the most from a team can be a challenge–and this is one area that GrowthSpace has proven success. GrowthSpace technology empowers L&D departments to strengthen their employees’ teamwork skills by matching them with the top trainers, mentors, and coaches in their field. Then, with an optimized sprint-based lesson format, GrowthSpace ensures that teamwork skills are brought up to speed to meet business goals.