The Importance of Teamwork (Plus 11 Ways a Team Benefits From It)

By Jennifer Herrity

Updated April 28, 2022 | Published March 8, 2021

Updated April 28, 2022

Published March 8, 2021

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

Traditional workplace hierarchy is evolving. Individual efforts on factory lines or in office cubicles are becoming less common, as group work rises to meet the needs of the 21st century economy. Leaders from all sectors are building teamwork structures to improve processes, satisfy new demands and establish healthier organizations. In this article, we define teamwork, discuss why it's important and list some of the ways your workplace can benefit from it.

What is teamwork?

Teamwork is when a group of people work together toward a common goal or purpose. If each person willingly and intentionally makes the team's interests and objectives their first priority, work reaches heightened levels of success—and the results can make a big impact. 

Building a team involves bringing people together, while teamwork is allowing those people to use their different abilities, values and beliefs to accomplish something they may not be able to do alone. Unity is the foundation for effective teamwork, leading to greater creativity and productivity in the workplace as well as happier, healthier teams.

Related: Characteristics of Good Teamwork (With Tips)

Why is teamwork important?

Teamwork is important because it promotes a positive workplace environment where more opportunities can be achieved and more obstacles can be overcome. Businesses and organizations need teamwork the most when a project is time sensitive and a diverse set of skills and experiences are needed. At its best, teamwork accomplishes complex tasks at greater speeds, reaches new benchmarks, expands professional skill sets and alters the course of history. By incorporating teamwork, dynamic and sustained change can occur.

Related: How To Achieve Teamwork Success

11 benefits of teamwork

If you're considering incorporating more teamwork into your organization, here are 11 ways your team may benefit:

1. More fun

While individual work can be rewarding, it is often more fun to work alongside other people. Group work allows for side conversations and short rests that may improve the quality of the work that's produced. For a person working alone, it may be challenging to break up the workday instead of completing tasks as quickly as possible. Understandably, many people are eager to finish work so they can do something more enjoyable, like spending time with friends and family.

Teamwork also introduces more opportunities to celebrate and be encouraged about the work that's being accomplished. Team members may have different tasks and milestones to reach, but any progress made toward their common goal can be cause for celebration. These shared wins often unite teams even more and propel them forward. Celebrating the wins of your team is a fun way to acknowledge their efforts and increase motivation.

2. Less stress

Healthy teamwork environments foster trust, which may help colleague relationships evolve into loyal friendships. These friendships can function as a support network that combats stress and boosts morale, resulting in better performance.

If you're leading a new team, you may want to spend time letting team members get acquainted with one another through team-building activities or outings. Even facilitating a conversation around shared interests, ideas or experiences may help connect the team and cultivate the ground for friendship.

Strong teams have a sense of shared responsibility which helps reduce the pressure that someone working alone may feel. While expectations and deadlines must still be met, there is comfort in knowing that the team can help if needed.

Related: Employee Happiness: Why It's Important and How to Achieve It

3. More communication

Teammates who trust each other can feel safe communicating openly and effectively, which may lead to greater collaboration. Collaborative teamwork happens when everyone contributes equally to solving a problem or creating something new by offering their unique skill set or expertise. In order to do this effectively, team members must be allowed to communicate in the ways that are most natural to them.

For instance, a software developer may provide product updates or results to the team through a communication platform such as Slack or WhatsApp, rather than leading a PowerPoint presentation in a meeting room.

Collaborative teams are empowered teams, where each member feels a sense of ownership in the work they're doing. You may try introducing collaboration at work by having team members take turns leading meetings and initiatives or reporting changes in direction and positive outcomes. Or you may require every team member to offer a solution during a brainstorming session with the understanding that all ideas hold equal value.

Related: Teamwork and Collaboration: What They Are and How To Improve Them

4. Less confusion

When a team is working together effectively, each member agrees on the goal or mission, understands their part in the plan and feels confident raising questions whenever necessary. This clear, cohesive approach to work reduces the chance for confusion and delays and may cause the team to perform more efficiently.

You may want to include key details and assignments on a vision board where all team members can access them easily. Additionally, it may be helpful to have a correspondence board where team members post notes, questions or kudos for others to read.

5. More creativity

One benefit of teamwork is that you now have more skills, experience and ideas in your company's collective toolbox. By encouraging your team members to communicate often and openly, you're cultivating a sense of trust and camaraderie where ideas can be shared without scrutiny, which may result in greater creativity. You may want to consider an open office arrangement, if your team works together in-person.

Open offices typically remove any workplace barriers, such as cubicles, that prevent teammates from seeing each other and interacting casually. This open space may help your team exchange ideas easily and encourage spontaneous, creative work sessions.

Related: Elements of Success in Teamwork (With Benefits and Tips)

6. Less fear

It's uncommon for groundbreaking inventions to come from singular minds. Thomas Edison is known for inventing the light bulb, but he first created a workplace for a group of people to share ideas and test them without fear of failure. He left notebooks throughout the space, in which he required note-sharing and the reassigning of roles or tasks whenever necessary. In this environment, world-changing ideas were conceived.

Teams that are strengthened by mutual trust and emboldened by shared wins may find it easier to take calculated risks toward new ventures. In this way, teamwork may help your business experience greater creativity and the courage needed to pursue innovative opportunities. This is especially useful if your company is experiencing some type of broadscale change, such as new executive leadership or a company merger.

7. More personal growth

Although teamwork involves a group effort toward a single goal, most goals require individual contributions to be achieved. In a teamwork environment, your team members can alter their work strategies and expand their skill sets as a result of interfacing with their peers more frequently.

These peer-to-peer learning opportunities can sometimes function as professional and personal development. Even when team members aren't cross-training each other through skill sharing or demonstrating, they are at least improving the soft skills that facilitate teamwork, such as active listening and communication, empathy and adaptability.

8. Less burnout

Burnout is the result of prolonged stress, which may be caused by overwhelming responsibilities or the inability to meet demands. The mental, emotional and physical exhaustion that is typical of burnout may prevent someone from continuing in their career.

Teamwork is helpful in preventing burnout, as responsibilities are dispersed amongst the group and team members support each other in completing the work. If a team member recognizes the signs of burnout in another, they may be able to help by picking up a task or asking their teammate to take a break.

The ability to thwart burnout in your workplace may improve employee performance and retention. You may consider reviewing signs and symptoms before beginning a new venture, so all team members understand its negative impact and how to prevent it.

Related: 11 Common Barriers to Teamwork and How You Can Overcome Them

9. More motivation

Teamwork may keep a project moving forward once individual discipline begins to wane. It's possible that your team members may care less about the work and more about what their peers will think if they choose to quit. They may be inspired to work longer hours or take on more tasks because of their decision to not let the team down.

Encouraging this type of motivation in your workplace may improve productivity, even through a simple practice of peer-to-peer recognition. Depending on your workspace, in-person or remote, you may post a brag board or keep a shared digital channel where teammates can complement each other's work. You may also intentionally model this behavior to your team by verbally acknowledging individual work.

10. More diversity

An effective teamwork structure includes and promotes diversity in thought, experience, education, background and expertise. In a teamwork environment, individuals are encouraged to lead with their unique strengths, which may differ drastically from their peers. If you're encouraging teamwork in your workplace, you may need to expect and allow constructive tension to exist between team members in order to achieve your team's best work.

By embracing different perspectives, your team may be able to avoid groupthink, which often occurs when people value conformity and make choices to avoid conflict. Instead, try creating a culture that values input and feedback and even project-focused debate whenever it's needed.

Related: Inclusive Culture: How To Contribute and Why It's Important

11. More resilience

Your company may become more resilient as a result of teamwork. Rather than facing challenging projects and impossible deadlines alone, a united team faces them together and persists through their collective strength. While pursuing long-term goals, teammates can lean on each other for encouragement and take comfort in knowing they're not alone in the journey.

When your team experiences setbacks or failure, they may be able to focus on the positive in the situation and regain perspective. If your company makes sudden changes in direction or policies, the team may adapt more quickly and continue working confidently because of the trust they have in each other.

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