‘Teamwork skills’ – it’s a one of those buzz phrases that every recruiter wants. Most of the time, they have no ieda what real teamwork skills are or even what they look like in the work environment.
No doubt, knowing how to be a team player is an integral part of any successful organisation, but how exactly does that work? What are the teamwork skills you need and what does it take to make an effective team? Recruiters might not know, but if you can prove you’ve got the answer to these questions, you’re immediately more employable.
Check out the 8 teamwork skills you need in the article below. Check out the teamwork skills examples and how to improve teamwork skills with any team you work with.
Why are Teamwork Skills Important?
No matter where you’re planning to work in an organisation, you’ll need to work with different people at different times. You’ll come across managers, recruiters, colleagues, members from other teams, and prospective clients who you’ll need to convince and collaborate with. Also, even though you might be working alone, you’ll always be working towards achieving your company’s goals. In such cases, it is important you have the right skillset to lead and/or support a team with a bunch of different mindsets, even if you’re all trying to achieve the same thing.
Mastering teamwork skills will not only help you fulfil your immediate purpose but can also help you realise your career goals and improve your resume.
8 Teamwork Skills to Master
#1 – Communication
Be it a boardroom or a classroom – effective communication is the key to success. You must be able to communicate and convey the necessary info, so there’s no room for doubt, whether it’s in person, via meeting workspaces, or emails and phones.
Communication includes both verbal and non-verbal cues. Verbal communication includes your point-of-view, your words and the confidence and clarity with which you use those words, and the tone of voice that you use to put your point across.
Non-verbal communication is how you react when others speak. Your body language, facial expressions (the eyeroll, the deep sighs), attention level (this includes your attention span or the times when you zone out), and eye contact (whether you are shifting, maintaining normal eye contact, or playing a staring game) are all examples of non-verbal communication.
#2 – Collaboration
Collaboration skills give the ability for people and teams to work well with each other to achieve a common goal. In the current scenario, it means, along with good communication skills, you need to be an active listener, be responsible, understand the tasks and steps involved, be empathetic, and acknowledge the personal goals, challenges, and diversity of your colleagues.
For example, for a positive collaborative environment, allow your team members to present their POV. If you don’t understand, ask for clarification, and summarise it to show that you are on the same page before moving forward. Look out if a team member doesn’t appear their usual selves and are irritable or quiet; maybe they need someone to talk to. With people coming from different backgrounds, there might be instances where a colleague is constantly ignored or talked over during meetings.
Make a deliberate effort to bring the discussion back to that person and create an open environment. These are just a few ways as to how you can use your collaboration skills and make a successful team.
#3 – Active Listening
Though active listening is a part of non-verbal communication, it is one of the most important teamwork skills and it deserves a special mention of its own. If you are a skilled active listener, you will not only pay attention to what the speaker is saying out loud; you’ll also be able to understand the unsaid message. As an active listener, you listen without judgement and understand where your teammates are coming from as they share their ideas, viewpoints, and feelings on a particular topic.
For example, while working on a project, the majority of the team might agree on a set number of project milestones. There might be a few dissenting voices who have valid concerns, but they get shut down. You, as a team leader, or even as a supportive colleague, can bring back the conversation where their POVs are encouraged and discussed with an open and non-judgmental mindset.
#4 – Consciousness
In teamwork, you need to always be conscious of the team’s dynamics. This conciousness comes from knowing your team members’ personalities, which is not always something you will get straight away, but something that builds over time.
Once you have figured out who is who in the team, it’s easier to navigate how and when you are going to voice yourself or help others voice themselves.
For example, if you know a team member is shy and has had ideas shot down before, you’ll likely come across situations where they will be uncomfortable in presenting their ideas publicly. Don’t forget them. You can ask them to submit their ideas privately with you, which you can promise them will happen without judgement.
One other way is to use interactive engagement software. Free platforms like AhaSlides can allow everyone to submit their ideas anonymously from anywhere, meaning they feel more encouraged to share their thoughts.
#5 – Conflict Management
Let’s accept it, conflicts within teams are common and unavoidable. But what happens next can make or break a team, and by extension, the organisation. That is why, expert conflict management skills are always in demand.
A team is made up of diverse people. People with different backgrounds, behaviours, life experiences, personalities, ethos, and professional and personal goals. As such, it is quite common for people to not share a similar point-of-view at all stages of a campaign or a project.
It’s the responsibility of the leader to deep dive into their conflict management skillset and build a consensus among everyone. You have to take the role of the negotiator, provide constructive feedback and resolve differences within your teammates. And at the end of it all, they should accept the team’s decision with a happy heart.
#6 – Accountability
Whether you are a team leader or a team member, you must be accountable for your actions and your decisions. You must be reliable and responsible so that your colleagues can trust you – be it with their personal information, or any sensitive info related to the company.
There might be instances where you need to make quick decisions to solve complex issues, such as unforseen roadblocks that might delay your project, or dealing with a fellow coworker for pulling their team down. These are unwanted situations where you, as a team, need to find the source of these issues, understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of these delays, and act accordingly. Your sense of responsibility and accountability would encourage your team to make an effort and work together towards a high standard of work quality and work ethics.
#7 – Conviction
It is not right to hope that a team or an organization will always have good days. There will be setbacks, rejections, unexpected roadblocks, project delays, and even personal losses that might hamper the growth of a company. During these times, you have to muster a sense of conviction and approach tough times with a growth mindset. Simply put, you need to reinforce the belief that ‘you can do it’ within your team and move forward with hard work and persistence.
Understand that you have a choice to either let this setback define you or focus on learning and finding out new ways to solve challenges. For example, if your new website has not received the applause that you expected, analyse its flaws. Find out what is wrong with it, learn from it, and build a newer improved version of it. Or, if you’ve realized that the hiring strategy isn’t working to your company’s satisfaction, do not let that strategy influence you any further while you build another strategy from scratch.
#8 – Compassion
Compassion is probably the most underrated skillset of a team member. And yet, in the current economic scenario, it is the highest value addition to an organization. Compassion enables you to look beyond the surface. It opens you to a better understanding of your colleagues’ motives and feelings, and motivates you to take purposeful action.
Compassion is in fact one step further than empathy, where you not only feel what the other person is feeling but also take steps to lessen that negative force of emotions. You listen to them, understand where they are coming from, put yourself in their shoes, and create an appropriate response for the situation. You might need to be compassionate anywhere – in a team session, one-to-one interviews, virtual sessions, or even in emails. Once you are able to transfer this skill to each member of your team, it can do wonders for their confidence and how they react to similar situations later in life.
The above-mentioned teamwork skills are not just meant for the workplace. You can use them in the classroom, during group brainstorms, and even in theatre. The key is to keep on practising. Watch how they make a difference the next time you incorporate them in your daily sessions.