Career Development

Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

January 20, 2020

Having strong teamwork skills are essential to succeeding at work, no matter your industry or job title. Working well with clients, colleagues, managers and other people in your workplace can help you complete tasks efficiently while creating an enjoyable environment both for yourself and others. An organisation that focuses on good teamwork skills is typically a healthy, high-functioning workplace.

In this article, we will take a closer look at what teamwork skills are, how you can improve them and other soft skills that can help you be a good teammate.

What are teamwork skills?

Teamwork skills are the qualities and abilities that allow you to work well with others during conversations, projects, meetings or other collaborations. Having strong teamwork skills depends on your ability to communicate well, actively listen and be responsible and honest. However, there are also many other additional soft skills that can help you be an exceptional teammate at work.

Why are teamwork skills important?

You will be required to work alongside others in every industry at every level in your career. Knowing how to work with others in an empathetic, efficient and responsible manner can help you accomplish your career goals, contribute positively to your organisation and build rapport with others. Building rapport with others can lead to deeper professional relationships with your colleagues, new connections and possibly even new career opportunities.

Examples of teamwork skills

Teamwork skills are made up of many other soft skills you can work to develop over time. Here are just a few examples of qualities that can help you improve your teamwork skills:

  • Communication. The ability to communicate in a clear and efficient way is crucial to having good teamwork skills. For example, knowing when to share relevant thoughts, ideas and key information with your team is a sign of having strong communication skills. Remember, there are many different types of communication skills, including both verbal and nonverbal, that you should be aware of when communicating with others.

  • Responsibility. When working with others, it’s important for everyone involved to understand the work they are responsible for and make an effort to complete their tasks on time and up to the expected standard. With the entire team taking responsibility for their own work, everyone can work more efficiently towards a common goal.

  • Honesty. It’s important to be honest with your team. This might mean sharing important information or developments, being up front when you are not able to complete a certain task on time, and being open with your ideas and opinions. Without transparency, it can be difficult for a team to develop trust and therefore work together efficiently.

  • Active listening. Much like communication, active listening skills can help a team better understand and trust each other. Active listening is the act of making an effort to focus intently on one person as they share their ideas, thoughts or feelings. You might also ask follow-up questions to dig deeper into what they are trying to communicate.

  • Empathy. Having empathy for your teammates can allow you to better understand their motives and feelings. Deeply understanding how others think and work can help you to communicate with them in a way they will respond to positively.

  • Collaboration. Teamwork exists so that a group of individuals with a diverse set of skills and talents can work together to create something better than one person could create on their own. It’s crucial to work with other teammates to share ideas, improve each other’s work and ensure everyone is working towards a common goal.

  • Awareness. In teamwork, it’s important that you hone your ability to be aware of the team dynamic at all times. For example, if one person is dominating the conversation or does not allow others to share ideas, it’s important to be aware of it and take measures to ensure each teammate has the opportunity to contribute. Alternatively, if one person tends to be more shy and hesitant to share ideas, it’s a good idea to create an open and welcoming space where all teammates feel comfortable to contribute in.

How to improve your teamwork skills

While it can take time and work to improve a soft skill such as teamwork, it is certainly possible to build upon these qualities. Here are a few steps you can take to improve your teamwork skills:

  • Get honest feedback. Since it can be difficult to identify your own areas of improvement, ask a friend, colleague or mentor to give you honest feedback about your teamwork strengths and weaknesses so you can improve them.

  • Set personal goals. Use both your own observations and feedback from others to form achievable, relevant and time-constrained goals can help you improve one teamwork skill at a time. Using the SMART goal framework is an easy way to set appropriate goals for your career.

  • Practise. It takes time and practise to see improvements in your skillset. Pay close attention to how you interact with teams throughout the day, both in and out of work. Then, take mindful steps to practise the specific qualities you are trying to work on.

  • Mimic others with strong teamwork skills. When you see examples of great teamwork, take note and identify why the interaction stood out to you. Apply those qualities in your own interactions when working with others.

Developing teamwork skills can help you both in your career and when looking for new opportunities. So it’s important to take the time to evaluate your current skill set and identify areas for improvement. With time and practise, you can begin building a strong set of teamwork skills.

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